ONE of Scotland's largest council housebuilding projects in a generation has been given the green light with 1,800 new homes to be created in the coming years.

Just weeks the Right To Buy scheme ended, North Lanarkshire is set to approve more than one thousand new council houses at a cost of almost £160 million.

It comes on top of around 800 new properties to which the authority has already committed and marks the greatest investment in Scottish council housing for decades.

Read more: Herald View - House building must become a priority

Despite the scale of the projects, the area will still be left with a housing shortage with the current waiting list standing at around 12,000 against a Scotland-wide figure of 170,000.

The number of council houses completed annually for most of the previous decade rarely surpassed double figures, with one three year period seeing a total of six built.

But the rush to snap up properties before the closure of Right-to-Buy last month and its impact on housing stocks has focused the attention of some councils on their property levels.

Barry McCulloch, North Lanarkshire's housing convenor, said: “As Scotland’s biggest council landlord we understand that modern, accessible housing is a key priority and I’m delighted we will be able to deliver 1800 new houses by 2026.

“We already had an extensive new-build programme in place, but we are determined to do what we can to meet considerable need. The quality of our new houses is unbelievable. They are energy-efficient, accessible and adaptable, which means the needs of people can really be taken into account. It means we can deliver a wide range of housing, including housing for older people, disabled people and young people setting up home for the first time.”

Read more: Herald View - House building must become a priority

As well as the creation of an annual average of 180 new homes in the area across the next decade, the programme is expected to have a positive knock-on to the local economy, from the supply chain through to jobs and the creation of apprenticeships.

Recent figures show Edinburgh alone has required between 38,000 to 46,000 new homes in the decade up to 2021.

The last 20 years have also seen the number of council houses plummet by half, from over 600,000 in 1996 to around 300,000, due to a combination of transfers of stock to housing associations and the popularity of right-to-buy.

The Scottish Government has a commitment of over £3billion in the next five financial years to fund the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes.

It has previously cut the grant it paid to social landlords, councils and housing associations, from £70,000 per unit to £42,000. But recently this has been increased to £59,000, spurring social housing development across the country.

Read more: Herald View - House building must become a priority

The build will also be part funded by additional rent increases totalling approximately 2.7 per cent over a six year period from 2021 to 2027.

North Lanarkshire currently has below average rent rates, around £55-per-week for three bedroom properties, and collects an annual total in excess of £100m.

The homes will be built across the local authority area, primary on land owned by the council including many former school sites.

Most properties will be low rise accommodation but flats have not been ruled out, particularly around town centres.

The council will also rebranded its housing section as part of the programme, renaming it 'NL Homes' "to help ensure that local communities are more aware of what is being planned and delivered in their areas".

Industry body Homes for Scotland the benefits of increasing housing supply included supporting four jobs per new home and investment boosting local economies through increased council tax receipts and new resident expenditure.

But chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “While we welcome North Lanarkshire’s commitment to increase its supply of affordable housing, the majority of people wish to own their own home. It is therefore vital that we have an all-tenure approach in order to meet the diverse housing needs and aspirations that exist.”