East Lothian Council’s Cabinet has given the go-ahead for public consultation to begin on a new Local Housing Strategy (LHS) for 2024-29.
Each local authority in Scotland has a statutory duty to prepare a Local Housing Strategy for their area, supported by an assessment of need and demand of housing provision and related services. The draft LHS sets out the strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services across East Lothian for a five year period from 2024 and within the context of the current financial challenges.
It is the sole strategic document for housing, bringing together a wide range of housing related priorities into one place and enabling a co-ordinated response in terms of action. The LHS plays a number of important roles, including:
- Setting out the strategic direction of the council and its partners to delivering high quality housing and related services, to meet identified need across the county
- Outlining the council’s approach to meeting its statutory housing responsibilities, i.e. in relation to homelessness, house conditions and fuel poverty
- Summarising the response to national housing priorities, i.e. the Scottish Housing Quality Standard; town centre living; reduction in carbon emissions and supporting the development of sustainable communities, while also reflecting the needs and priorities of the local area
- Demonstrating how housing can contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing, the reduction of poverty and influence the effective integration of health and social care.
In developing the draft LHS, a year-long period of public engagement took place, in which more than 1,000 people participated. It included a range of online surveys, in-person focus groups and workshops.
Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing and Property Maintenance, Councillor Andy Forrest, said: “Researching for and preparing this draft LHS for East Lothian has been a huge piece of work for our housing teams and community partners and I would like to thank everyone involved for participating and bringing this key document together. We are proposing that by 2029, people in East Lothian will have access to warm, high quality, affordable homes which meet their needs and enable them to live in communities with the support and services they require.”
To underpin this vision, five priority outcomes have been identified:
- Communities are supported to flourish, be distinctive and be well connected
- Housing supply is accessible, affordable and provides a range of choices to meet the needs of households across East Lothian
- Homelessness is prevented as far as possible and, where unavoidable, a rapid response with the appropriate support is provided
- Housing and support services are effective, accessible, and will meet the needs of those most vulnerable in the community
- All homes in East Lothian are maintained to a high standard, are energy efficient and contribute to meeting climate change targets
A series of consultation events has been planned which will give residents, tenants and community groups an opportunity to comment on the draft LHS. An online consultation will also be available from Wednesday 13 to Friday 3 November.
- Saturday 30 September, 11am-3pm, Fisherrow Centre, Musselburgh (Musselburgh Communities Day)
- Tuesday 3 October, 4.30-7.30pm, Haddington Primary School, Upper Hall
- Thursday 12 October, 2-5.30pm, Chalmers Memorial Church, Port Seton, Main Hall (to cover issues in Prestonpans, Cockenzie & Port Seton)
- Wednesday 18 October, 4.30-8.30pm, Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar
- Tuesday 24 October, 4.00-8.00pm, The Fraser Centre, Tranent
- Friday 3 November, 1-5pm, Hope Rooms, North Berwick
Following the consultation period, the final draft LHS will be presented to Cabinet in January 2024 for sign off before being sent to the Scottish Government and becoming an official council document in the new financial year.