Lock-up garages ‘could be demolished to make way for new parking bays’

The tactic is being pursued following a review of the north-east Fife housing plan.

Lock-up garages ‘could be demolished to make way for new parking bays’ iStock

Under-occupied lock-up garages in north-east Fife could be demolished and replaced with parking bays in a bid to meet demand, it has emerged.

The tactic is being pursued following a review of the area’s housing plan, which was rubber-stamped by councillors more than four years ago, with a need for additional parking highlighted by locals as a key housing issue.

A feasibility study is also being carried out to understand the cost involved with identifying gardens where space could be used to create driveways.

The approach to delivering new parking has been detailed in an update to Fife Council’s north-east Fife area committee, along with a number of priority areas uncovered during the extensive review process.

Anti-social behaviour, a lack of affordable housing and family specific housing, housing repairs, and the condition of a housing estate were among those issues said to be in need of further attention.

Gordon Binnie, area housing manager, said Covid uncertainty had prompted the council to develop an online consultation form which has in turn uncovered what people consider to be their biggest housing issues.

“Tenant participation is a key part of our housing strategy,” he explained.

“Being part of organised groups gives our tenants and residents a greater voice when talking about local issues.

“We would have preferred to get out into local communities to better understand, however, we have unable to achieve this.

“But we did receive a good response from our online consultation.

“We currently have seven active tenant and residents’ association groups in north-east Fife, we recognised the top 80% of issues and used these to create our action plan.”

In addition to measures to create parking where possible, Mr Binnie revealed that a new anti-social behaviour policy is to be implemented in January 2022, while the time to complete repair jobs – and how satisfied tenants are with any work done – is to be reported regularly to the area committee.

The council has also pledged to provide feedback on tenants who have downsized using the tenant incentive scheme; build larger family homes; and ensure 30% of affordable housing projects coming forward will be for specific needs customers including 5% for wheelchair housing.

Meanwhile, Mr Binnie added that staff will regularly inspect properties for blocked gutters, vegetation and maintenance issues; will regularly maintain trees, shrubs, weeds and grass on housing land; and will also carry out inspections of gardens “promptly” when they fall below standard.

The review was carried out after the delivery of recent affordable housing projects in Anstruther, Cupar, St Andrews and Guardbridge, while continued investments are to be made in kitchens, central heating, bathrooms, roofs, rewiring, smoke detectors, secure door entry systems, structural works, electrical testing and external walls across the council’s housing estate over the coming years.

By local democracy reporter Craig Smith

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