As an organisation Aberdeen City Council has a vast remit but at the heart of that are fundamental aims: to serve the people and the place.
The need to address housing issues transcends both of those and it is heartening to see great strides being taken.
This week I was on site at the former Smithfield School, where the first of 99 new Council homes has been completed. The first phase, incorporating a dozen properties, will be concluded in the coming months and a steady stream of residents will move in throughout the year as the remainder come on stream. From one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom houses, it will meet a variety of different needs.
The innovative design at Smithfield, and the way in which the site and £13million investment has been maximised, demonstrates what can be achieved and I was pleased to see at first-hand the way in which the community is being refreshed. The development will give a boost to the area as a whole.
Nearby, at Manor Walk, work is progressing on a development of 80 homes – which combined with the Smithfield site will provide significant supply in the Middlefield area as efforts to address the urgent requirement for more housing gather momentum.
Next week full Council will consider a report into the feasibility of building a further 2,000 council homes in the city.
Images show how the Manor Walk properties will look, with construction continuing at both Manor and Smithfield.
Despite the progress being made, it is imperative priority continues to be placed on meeting the need we know exists in Aberdeen. The Council has had that at the centre of its plans for the transformation of the city since 2012 and it must continue to be a focus.
The Local Housing Strategy places an emphasis on encouraging the delivery of 1,250 properties each year – including 415 affordable homes. A new LHS will be developed this year, but working on current figures it is clear that demand is unrelenting and that Aberdeen City Council has a leading role to play in meeting it. We must also work with partners to meet the challenges.
What we all have to remember is that behind those numbers are individuals and families who need and deserve a safe, warm and welcoming place to live. This is about people, not statistics, and comes right back to our core purpose as a Council– to serve the people and the place.