The context for the Joint Plan
This Joint Plan takes as its starting point the SG's Housing and Regeneration Outcomes, which set out the objectives of SG policy, and the SG's existing published strategies for housing and regeneration, especially Homes Fit for the 21 st Century (February 2011). However, it also takes account of the changes and pressures on the housing system since 2011 including the on-going effects of the 2008 financial crisis. In particular, several significant themes emerged from the major consultation process which led up to the Joint Plan, and these themes are reflected in both the aims and the detail of the Joint Plan:
- The importance of housing in anchoring communities and places, and public awareness of the benefits of housing.
- The increasing demand for good quality housing from all segments of the population.
- The identified lack of housing supply in both public and private sectors, leading to market distortions.
- The affordability of housing for people, whether owning or renting.
- The continuing need to address homelessness through early intervention and support.
- The condition of Scotland's housing stock and how investment can assist with carbon reduction targets and fuel poverty.
- The benefits to people's health, wellbeing and security through having a permanent, well maintained and warm home throughout life.
- The public value of preventative spend on housing in terms of cost effective use of resources and meeting the health and demographic challenges ahead.
- Everyone's right to adequate housing, regardless of social, economic or cultural status, including older people and those with disabilities.
The 34 actions in the Joint Plan are designed to refresh and enhance the delivery of the existing Government strategies in this challenging context.
The Scottish Ministers' visions for housing and regeneration have been set out in the strategies Homes Fit for the 21 st Century and Achieving a Sustainable Future (December 2011). These visions are:
- that all people in Scotland live in high quality sustainable homes that they can afford and that can meet their needs; and
- a Scotland where our most disadvantaged communities are supported and that all places are sustainable and promote well-being.
For housing, Homes Fit for the 21 st Century went on to identify interventions in two high level strategic areas, namely:-
- To build new, high quality, affordable homes (including social housing) to meet current need and demand from a growing and ageing population, including the needs of those on lower incomes; and
- To significantly improve the quality of the existing housing stock and places we create.
In order to promote and monitor the achievement of these two visions, the Housing, Regeneration & Welfare Directorate of Scottish Government has adopted an Outcome-Based approach to policy, based on four main housing and regeneration outcomes:-
- A well-functioning housing system - availability of choice, homes people can afford and growth of supply.
- High quality sustainable homes - safe, warm, resources-efficient and promoting well-being.
- Homes that meet people's needs - accessing and keeping a home and supporting independent living.
- Sustainable Communities - economically, physically and socially sustainable.
Allied to these are the Outcomes of the SG Planning & Architecture Division as set out in Creating Places (June 2013):-
- Architecture and Planning - everyone responsible for Scotland's built and natural environment must recognise that architecture and places are not simply elements of the planning process - they are among the most important outcomes that the process exists to support, and their quality should be a priority.
- Investment: decisions informed by place - Communities and places benefit from investment decisions that consider all impacts - societal, environmental as well as economic. Decisions should prioritise long-term benefits. The public sector should set an example by ensuring high design standards are adhered to in public procurement.
- Developing our potential - All areas of policy and practice should utilise and promote design as a tool to deliver value, sustainable outcomes and high quality. Scotland's design heritage and design talent should be celebrated and the next generation developed and promoted.
- Design for a low carbon economy - Low carbon design and planning should be a priority. Project clients, commissioners, designers and approvers should encourage design innovation and take advantage of locally sourced materials to facilitate sustainable development. A 're-use not replace' approach should be considered first when dealing with our existing built environment.