Flats to cost extra £1m despite reduction in number of homes

The Riverside Place project is now expected to cost  £17.28m compared to the £16.2m allocated in 2019.

Ayr Riverside flats to cost extra £1m despite reduction in number of homes iStock

Ayr’s new Riverside Flats will cost more than a million pounds more than originally agreed, despite the number of homes being cut from 90 to 75 units.

The Riverside Place project is now expected to cost  £17.28m compared to the £16.2m allocated in 2019.

The controversial plan to demolish the iconic buildings was opposed by many residents, but was eventually agreed by South Ayrshire Council.

However, legal battles over the telecommunications mast erected on one of the blocks meant that the only two of them have been demolished.

Efforts to come to an agreement between mobile phone giant EE and the council to remove the mast in return for financial compensation had appeared to be heading towards resolution.

But these talks stalled and the council was left with the headache of building much needed affordable housing around the remaining block.

The resulting proposal sees two new blocks built at the Riverside site, while the third is on hold until the contract between the council and EE expires.

And the council will still be borrowing less than it had planned for the 90 unit development.

It was looking at borrowing £10.89m for the previous proposal, with the Scottish Government making up the remaining £5.31m.

Now, the council will borrow £9.18m. The contribution from the Scottish Government has increased by £1.42m, from £5.31m to £6.736m, as a result of a number of ‘enhancements’.

These include sprinkler mist installation; deaf alarms, additional sockets, haver points, attic smoke detectors; curtain walling and smoke automatic opening vents; lift installations and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The council will also utilise £1.18m of unallocated funds from second home council tax income and £183k in commuted funds.

The report to full council on Friday stated: “Although the number of units has been reduced from 90 to 75, due to the retention of one of the Riverside tower blocks, the costs have increased due to high levels of construction inflation.

“The development site has been reduced in size to account for the remaining Block 1 with the number of proposed new build units being reduced in number from 90 units to 75 units.

“Increasing the supply of good quality affordable housing is identified a key strategic priority in South Ayrshire’s Local Housing Strategy and Council Plan.”

The new build will feature 43 one bedroom flats and 32 two bedroom flats, including five wheelchair accessible units.

The development will also consist of resident/visitor parking and amenity spaces.

“Discussions have been held with the Scottish Government with regards to their contribution towards the project.

“They have agreed to contribute £6,736,425 (equivalent to £89,819 per unit).

“If approved, the development would be carried out over five phases with the first phase of the works starting in October 2023.

“Units would then be handed over for occupation starting Phase 1 October 2024 with the final phase handing over in May 2025.”

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