It has been an honour to have been part of the milestones in the development of 99 new Council houses at Smithfield.
From the planning and blueprint, turf cutting and construction to the first residents moving in and now the completion of the site, it has been fantastic to watch what was a dis-used piece of land being transformed into a vibrant and thriving new housing estate.
When you talk to residents and walk through site, what is really striking is the way in which the houses at Smithfield have already become homes.
As I’ve said many times before and make no excuses for repeating, people are at the heart of all our plans for housing in Aberdeen.
That applies as much to the programme of refurbishments that we’re carrying out across our existing Council houses as it does to the new homes we’re building.
More than 1,300 households will see improvements this year alone and we’re committed to continuing to invest in enhancements to improve the quality of life for our tenants.
Of course, the major focus is on addressing the challenges in the housing market locally and developments such as Smithfield are essential to meeting our aims.
With a development of a further 80 Council houses nearby at Manor Walk nearing completion, representing an investment of £26.5m across the two sites, there are great strides being made.
Self-financing plans for a further 2,000 new homes will be brought back for consideration by councillors in the near future and we are also ramping up our efforts to engage with landowners and developers with an interest in supporting the Council’s strategy. The response has already been encouraging.
We also continue to work with housing associations and other key stakeholders in a joined-up approach, working towards common goals.
This partnership working is vital if we’re to best serve the city but as a Council we’re determined to lead from the front. The completion of the latest development is a very visible sign of that commitment and I’m delighted to see the hard work that has gone into the project already paying dividends for the individuals and families settling in to Smithfield.