Govanhill Housing Association has been awarded 9.3 million pounds from the public purse to spend over the next two years buying up and repairing properties in four tenament blocks around Allison Street as part of Glasgow City Council’s South West Govanhill Acquisition Programme. Six hundred letters have been sent to property owners and staff have been visiting closes and assessing each close with a view to identifying issues and building relationships.
Anne Lear, Director of Govanhill Housing Association has previously said that the South West Govanhill area still had many issues to overcome, including a need for more effective factors and property maintenance plans, support for owner occupiers, reduction in overcrowding and improving property standards and back court areas.
she has also said that funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council has been made available for a two year pilot programme of property acquisition and improvement
- The focus would be on four tenement blocks at the centre of South West Govanhill and bounded by the following streets: Calder Street, Westmoreland Street, Dixon Avenue and Annette Street.blocks, hence their selection as the initial target area. GCC are keen to see an increase in affordable social housing and a reduction in the number of privately rented properties within South West Govanhill.
- Acquisition costs would be 100% grant funded therefore neither the existing tenants/residents or the Association would be required to contribute any monies.
In relation to the media coverage of the investment programme, Anne stated that reports had been exaggerated regarding the extent of the programme and that during the 2 year pilot period the Association hoped to acquire an initial 60 to 80 properties.
Anne Lear has also stated publicly that the Association had sought compulsory purchase powers but this approach was not available to the Association. She has also confirmed that the Association would work with Glasgow City Council and other Housing Associations to tackle overcrowding. she said that the Association would not only be improving and repairing the properties but would be managing and factoring them (if in majority ownership) and that this would allow action to be taken to prevent overcrowding. The Association would also discuss housing options with sitting tenants and help to rehouse people if necessary. When asked how the Govanhill Housing Association will tackle slum landlords, they confirmed that gaining a compulsory purchase order was often a long process but hoped that Glasgow City Council would use the full extent of statutory powers available to tackle this.
We believe that compulsory purchase orders must be part of any property acquisition programme in Govanhill. Unless Glasgow City Council uses their full powers of compulsory purchase orders, slum landlords will continue to rent out slum properties if they so desire and no amount of persuasion or relationship building from Govanhill Housing Association will be able to stop or control them. This lack of compulsory purchase orders could mean that the £9.3 million awarded to Govanhill Housing Association will prove in the future to have been a waste of tax payers money. Slum like properties will continue to blight Govanhill as Slum Landlords continue to make an easy profit out of other people’s poverty and misery.
Let’s Save Govanhill will continue to demand the following to tackle poor housing conditions in Govanhill:
- Govanhill should be afforded a similar status as Page Hall Sheffield and designated an Enhanced Enforcement Area as described under Scotland Housing Act (2014) Section 28
- Legislation to implement landlords licensing scheme
- Transformational Regeneration Area status for Govanhill and feasibility study undertaken to determine best long term strategy for improved housing stock, this should include private sector investors