FIFE COUNCIL'S housebuilding programme will not solve the waiting list for homes in the Dunfermline area, a housing chief has admitted.

Giving an update to members of the City of Dunfermline area committee on Tuesday, area housing manager Lynn Johnston revealed there were currently 2,400 people on the council house waiting list in the city.

While new properties have been constructed – and there are plans for more – Ms Johnston said other ways of helping those in need of a home were being looked at.

"Our housebuilding plan, while very ambitious, will not resolve the waiting list crisis and will not resolve the homelessness crisis," she said.

"What we are trying to do is increase options for people.

"We had a management restructure in the service and now have housing options officers. They help people explore all tenures of housing. We are there to support these people through that process and help them make the most appropriate choice for their family.

"Work is ongoing to offer advice and support to those in housing crisis. Largely, tenures people present from are people leaving their parental or family homes for reasons including being asked to leave, other action taken by their landlord and non-violent disputes in the household."

Only 170 housing allocations – one in 12 applications – were made in Dunfermline in the last year while the number of people presenting as homeless fell by two per cent to 369 in the same period.

"We need larger family-size properties and one-bedroom properties to satisfy demand," she said. "We also have an ageing population and a greater need for adapted properties. Hopefully, this will be largely met with new-build schemes in the coming years.

"The housing programme delivered 78 new properties during 20/2022 at Lapwing Drive and Main Street, Kingseat. A further development is planned for Blacklaw Road, providing 78 units and at Bellyeoman Road with 30 extra care retirement housing units and 14 mainstream.

"We do not have enough family-sized housing in Dunfermline. Time has moved on since the first council housing was built. A lot of families don't want to live in a flat so some of the issue is properties we have are not in demand. Families would rather live in a house and have their own front and back door and garden so that has a significant impact on people.

"Some people will stay on the waiting list for this type which we find difficult to satisfy in the Dunfermline area."

Ms Johnston said one "focus" for the coming year was to reduce the time taken to turn around a void property to allow someone to move in.

"The one area that was a cause for concern was the increased length of time taken to turn around an empty property which increased from 39 days to 56 days," she explained. "There were

many reasons for this eg staff absence and supply of materials. We will continue to focus on reducing delays for new tenants setting up home over the period, however, there is no doubt that this had an impact on void rent lost."