Housing scheme gives youngsters a step up

THREE first-time house buyers are celebrating after taking possession of their new flats thanks to a scheme orchestrated by the council.

Three “affordable” flats at Wilderhaugh in Galashiels have been sold to to young local buyers, enabling them to get their feet on the property ladder.

It’s the result of collaboration between the former site owner David Harrison, the property developer Stanley Brash, Scottish Borders Council and Eildon Housing Association around the council’s affordable housing policy.

The policy calls for negotiation at the planning application stage to provide a proportion of houses that can be sold at a discounted price below the normal market value to households who can demonstrate appropriate need.

First-time buyers in particular currently face significant challenges and the intention of the policy is to make home ownership more accessible by reducing the purchase price, whilst making it easier for buyers to obtain a loan.

One of the new residents commented: “This is a fantastic chance to get a foot on the property ladder years before it might otherwise be possible. It’s extremely important that applicants can demonstrate they will be able to contribute to the life and the economy of the Borders.”

Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre said: “This shows that our affordable housing policy is really working.”