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Scottish Housing Commission calls for up to eight new towns to be built

July 31 2014

Scottish Housing Commission calls for up to eight new towns to be built
Scotland needs as many as eight new towns to be built to tackle a nationwide housing shortage, according to the Scottish Housing Commission.

The body, led by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, settled on the solution after identifying imbalances in supply and demand brought about by shortages of land, new builds and private rental properties.

To address these issues the report calls for between six and eight new settlements to be built, either as completely new towns or as extensions to existing communities. These would be used to supply the volume of private rental properties needed to offset current shortages in the market.

SHC chairman Tom Barclay said: "The imbalance that exists between supply and demand for housing remains an ongoing problem in today's, and potentially tomorrow's, Scottish housing market.

"A substantial increase in land supply for housing would assist development partners in their business preparation, reduce land costs and impact positively on the affordability of housing. In addition, scaling up production of new house-building across all tenures is, in our view, an essential aspect in a sustainable housing solution for Scotland.”


#1 Posted by Monkey9000 on 31 Jul 2014 at 13:03 PM
Is there no space left in our towns and cities?
#2 Posted by David on 31 Jul 2014 at 13:35 PM
So many derelict areas & buildings available in our towns and cities. Why not develop them? Ridiculous idea to build new towns.
#3 Posted by wonky on 31 Jul 2014 at 14:06 PM
This is absolutely encapsulates the present cultural milieu perfectly- how can even competently educated people come up with these ludicrous ideas? As previous posters have noted: there's plenty of brown-field sites in or near whole swathes of Glasgow. Who is going to build the infrastructure, including transport & public amenities, for these "new towns", in an era of historically low public spending? This of course means more car dependency ( for we all know no train stations etc will serve these places). It is utter mass insanity. Glasgow inner city has the best transport infrastructure outside London; why then not build up areas like Gallowgate, Calton, Bellgrove, Tradeston/SECC area, Woodside etc- have any of these idiots seen Cowlairs/Possil area- it's like the Russian Steppe out there ( & right on the edge of the urban core). I risk sounding like a broken record but why aren't we building on sites with existing transport infrastructure? In an age when people are becoming more aware of environmentalism, recycling etc here we have prominent figures promoting ideas that only exacerbate dependence on the car, a move away from public transport & the inevitable rise in pollution & the compromise in life quality that comes with it. This really makes me fear for the future.
#4 Posted by Egbert on 31 Jul 2014 at 14:28 PM
Hear hear #3 - a shame such clear-sighted sanity seems to have evaded the SHC. You're right that Glasgow is a case in point - the sheer amount of vacant and/or derelict land from right in the centre all the way to the fringes is an utter embarrassment (as aerial footage shown as part of the Commonwealth Games can only have served to highlight to an international audience). There's also the disgrace of the Leith Docks centre stage in the country's capital, crying out to be built out. New towns will be hugely expensive, divisive to those living around them, and a fundamentally unsustainable solution to the housing problem. Re-urbanise our hollowed-out inner cities, then we can talk.
#5 Posted by Egbert on 31 Jul 2014 at 14:36 PM
Also - given Wonky's point about the prevailing British culture of rock-bottom public spending and the Westminster government's mass withdrawal from anything resembling state planning - if it's the private sector 'development partners' to whom the design and realisation of these new towns will fall, I have grave concerns about their quality and value as places to live. There's a dearth of vision in the private sector as to what from a 21st century settlement should take - the deeply regressive cod-18th century suburban model adopted by the likes of Chapelton and Owenstown does not give great grounds for hope.
#6 Posted by Edinshug on 31 Jul 2014 at 18:36 PM
Having read the report just now, it actually mentions that the "new towns" to include "strategic regeneration", and that more support should be provided to bring the 23000 empty homes in Scotland back into use...this article actually hides some of the important details....seems to me the SHC seem spot on!
Don Diamanté
#7 Posted by Don Diamanté on 1 Aug 2014 at 22:28 PM
I wish people would read the actual report first, rather than bursting out their disgust at it based on a brief article. Respect to you, Edinshug.
I also can't understand the automatic assumption that this report is centred on Glasgow. I don't think the greatest demand for housing in Scotland is in Glasgow. Scotland does not = just Glasgow.
#8 Posted by brian on 4 Aug 2014 at 09:44 AM
I think wonky is correct using Glasgow as example.And yes Glasgow isn't Scotland ,but it is Scotlands largest city ,Eburgh could fit into its south side and largest population.Glasgow does have largest suburban rail network outside London and a subway ,And the areas wonky stated should be built up and are being in some like laurieston.
David Wilson
#9 Posted by David Wilson on 4 Aug 2014 at 21:31 PM
Interesting points being raised.

I'd like to pick up on the shortage of land issue. How can that be ?

We have a population density of around 174 per square mile (yes it's considerably more in the central belt) but generally it's extremely low. England's population density is 1052, yet overall in the UK, only 6% of the land mass has been developed into cities and urban areas.

We need to go back to basics. Who owns the land in Scotland and why ? This is the real issue. We know that 400 people own over half of Scotland's land mass and frankly, thats a shocking statistic. Another appalling statistic is the last Labour government in Holyrood, during our times of plenty before the crash, only managed to build 6 (yes, that's a 6) new council properties.

If you're interested, I'd recommend Andy Wightman's writings on land ownership and reform:
#10 Posted by wonky on 8 Aug 2014 at 11:13 AM
Bang on the money David- this is the root problem. In fact in many respects land ownership, the rights it confers, the whole semi-feudal aristocratic legal-political system of the UK, the House of Lords, the sovereignty of the Royals etc are all interdependent. AN independent Scotland with people as sovereign, land stripped back to free commons, greater democratic accountability from directly elected politicians, enhanced localism & democratic activism would certainly be possible if people wanted it- alas it looks like we Scots will reject such a vision & remain tied to the irredeemably broken UK system.
#11 Posted by Egbert on 8 Aug 2014 at 15:48 PM
Wonky - that's another very good reason to vote Yes. Count me in... don't be too pessimistic, we may yet get it.
#12 Posted by Dow on 8 Aug 2014 at 18:34 PM
This s no place for desperate political rhetoric. Shame on you

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