NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND
81. Economic development and regeneration will be hampered if labour cannot be supplied in the right places, and the location of the labour supply will be determined in part by the availability of suitable housing. An adequate supply of affordable housing is therefore an important factor in promoting economic activity and social justice and in closing the opportunity gap.
82. The need for additional affordable housing varies across Scotland. In areas where requirements for affordable housing exceed the supply, usually areas experiencing economic growth, there may be a need to increase the housing supply. In these high demand areas the cost and availability of suitable land for affordable housing are important considerations. Supply may be restricted in areas where residential land values are very high, or where the supply of sites suitable for residential development is low. In rural areas, a lack of affordable housing may affect the ability to retain the existing population and to attract new residents with the skills to support diversification of the economy. Research identifies Edinburgh and the Lothians and parts of Central Scotland as areas with the highest levels of need for affordable housing. Areas within Glasgow and the Clyde Valley also have shortages, though in some cases it may be possible for these to be offset by surpluses elsewhere in the broader housing market area.
83. Some areas have an overall surplus of housing which manifests itself as empty or abandoned dwellings. Significant numbers of social rented houses have been demolished in difficult to let areas in the West of Scotland and Dundee and there are still difficulties in letting houses in some areas. However, this does not necessarily mean that they do not have a need for new affordable housing. The size, type, tenure or condition of the existing stock may no longer meet the needs of local people and may be contributing to decline _ particularly if disadvantaged households are concentrated in certain neighbourhoods. In such areas there may still be a need for new affordable housing to promote more sustainable and diverse communities or enable households with particular needs to live independently within the community.
84. The Executive is committed to helping local communities to meet their needs for affordable housing and will provide resources for an additional 18,000 new and improved homes for social rent and low-cost ownership by 2006. All local authorities are required to assess their housing needs and it will be important that, where a need for additional affordable housing is identified, the requirements and the mechanisms for delivery are taken fully into account in local housing strategies, development plans and community plans. The Executive intends to issue further advice on the planning aspects of affordable housing in 2004.