A funding boost to the tune of £4m which could turn empty shops and properties in town centres into affordable housing has been welcomed by Adam Ingram MSP.
The Town Centre Empty Homes Fund will provide grant and loan funding to help increase the supply of housing in Scotland’s urban and rural towns.
Mr Ingram said: “Making sure everyone has access to affordable homes where they can feel safe and warm, is a priority for the Scottish Government. But it’s not just about building new homes, we need to make better use of our existing housing stock and properties.
“Empty shops and flats can be an eyesore in our communities, devaluing our properties and even encouraging anti-social behaviour.
“Bringing these empty properties back into use is a cost-effective way of increasing the supply of housing available to families across Scotland and it also aides community regeneration.
“Transforming derelict shops and flats into new homes, will inject some life back into our town centres and make them attractive places to live and work.”
The Fund, which will open for bids shortly, will offer funding to regenerate both homes which have been lying empty for long periods of time, and to convert empty commercial spaces into residential accommodation.
The properties will then be available for affordable rent or sale.
In Scotland the number of unoccupied properties is falling with 31,457 properties currently recorded as being empty for six months or more.
The Scottish Government have already spent £4.5m on the Empty Homes Loan fund which is expected to deliver 400 homes over a ten year period and £2.75m on the Town Centre Housing fund to deliver 82 homes across seven towns in the country.