Garages to Homes plan: EIR review

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

Any information the Scottish Government has on record relating to a plan that the Scottish Borders Housing Association refers to as Garages to Homes. (The Scottish Government might call it by a different name.)

Anything the SG has on record that is related to any consultation, idea or plan that relates even loosely to the concept of turning either existing garages, or the ground that garages currently sit on into residential units or homes, in particular relating to plans, ideas, consultations, proposals or decisions that relates to garage areas currently owned by Scottish Councils or Scottish Registered Scottish Landlords.

Also, any documents or recordings that relate to dialogue or planning that has taken place between the Scottish Government or any agency acting on its behalf with Scottish Borders Housing Association that relates in any way to Garages to Homes.


Whilst your FOI request was handled under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), this review has been registered and conducted as an Environmental Information Review. This is because guidance on the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website explains that information about planning applications will usually be environmental information, given that the information will, in most circumstances, explicitly relate to plans and developments which will have a direct impact on the land use and landscape of a particular area.

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

You suggested in your review request that some information may have been missed from our original response. As part of my review I have conducted further searches and can confirm that I have identified some additional information that I am disclosing to you.

On reviewing the handling of your request, I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with some modifications. Please note that I am providing the relevant extracts from documents that relate to the information you have requested (see points 1 to 4). All other information contained within those documents that I have identified is outwith the scope of your request.

I have discussed the case with the original case handler, and mitigating actions have been taken to avoid a recurrence. I apologise that this information was missed from our original response.

In relation to your complaint that that you feel you might have been deliberately misled on a very important and somewhat controversial issue, I can find no evidence that you were deliberately misled.

Having carried out further searches I have decided that the following information should be released:

1. August 2021 - Extract from a table of Community Renewal Fund bid summaries

Proposal Name Short Description Investment Priority Delivers in more than one place? If so, specifiy places £ requested Start  Date End Date
G2H Garages to Homes 2 feasibility studies to provide groundwork to tackle housing challenge with innovative approach. Transform 1950s/70s garage blocks into affordable bungalows. Business Community N/a £150,000 End July 2021 End March 2022



2. November 2021 - Extract from a Weekly Flash Briefing for Ministers Document 15 - 19 November 2021 from South of Scotland Enterprise

“Garages to Homes is a partnership project by Scottish Border Housing Association and Berwickshire Housing Association to convert garages across communities in the Borders to provide 60 modern, efficient, affordable homes for older people and people with disabilities. SOSE is supporting the development of a masterplan to carry out a high-level desktop study of 118 garage sites (with a total of 1,718 garages) across 27 communities. Followed by a detailed feasibility including a detailed evaluation including a range of surveys and assessments that include the consideration of Technology Enabled Care (TEC) and SMART Technology, future-proofing the homes. The project is working with the patented approach of innovative construction company HUSK. In reusing existing sites and developing energy efficient homes this project will contribute to the region's transition to Net Zero as well as enabling older people and people with disabilities to remain and live in their communities.”

3. 9 December 2021 - Extract from South of Scotland Enterprise Board Papers

“Housing – support has been secured for two Registered Social Landlords with an Innovative Garages to Homes feasibility study.”

4. Extract from minute of Scottish Borders 2022/23 Affordable Housing Supply Programme #1 on 17 May 2022 between Scottish Borders Council, Berwickshire HA, Eildon HA, Scottish Borders HA and Scottish Government officials.

"3. Scottish Borders - Affordable Housing Supply Programme 2022/23

Draft Strategic Local Programme Agreements (SLPA)

AD advised that MHD, SBC will look to finalise and sign off the 22/23 SLPA around the end of May to fit in with overall programme requirements. The previously announced 22/23 RPA of £16m is not expected to change

SG MHD presented a draft Strategic Local Programme (SLP) for 2022/23 based on contributions received from applicants. Recent amendments to the programme had been received by MHD from Eildon HA. Discussions on what these changes mean to Eildon’s strategic development programme would be undertaken out-with this Programme meeting (on Wednesday 18 May).

In order to get a draft SLP agreed, a project-by-project walk-through of the draft SLP was undertaken and where changes were advised by applicants these were noted by MHD.

See ANNEX A - for changes to the draft 2022/23 SLP. Changes highlighted in orange. New projects highlighted in yellow.


Action – SG to issue the revised draft 2022/23 SLP to attended for final review before the SLP is signed off by SG/Scottish Borders Council. Attendees to return draft SLPA with any comments clearly highlighted by 1 June."

Please note - The reference ‘HUSK PH1’ in the table above refers to Garages to Homes and subsequent to this minute being produced, the case handler has noticed an error and it should have read as follows:

"See ANNEX A - for changes to the draft 2022/23 SLP. Changes highlighted in yellow. New projects highlighted in orange."

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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