SOCIAL housing across West Dunbartonshire will be of a higher standard in future to improve residential experiences and drive economic recovery, council officials have pledged.

The council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for the period 2021/22 to 2025/26 was reviewed by members of the housing committee last week.

It focusses on the delivery of affordable housing by location, type, and tenure and indicates how the programme will be resourced, particularly through the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) funding and its Council House Building Programme (CHB) component.

So far there are a total of 1,206 priority projects across West Dunbartonshire, including the former St Andrew’s High School and Queens Quay.

Peter Barry, strategic lead for housing and employability said: “During Covid, a number of really important issues came to light around people’s living experiences.

“It was pointed out how Covid played a part in inequality.

“There were challenges that meant people weren’t able to work effectively from home.

“Homes needed to be bigger as people were indoors more with their families. Fortunately, we can develop a design standard that meets those needs.

“Although we can’t do anything about the houses that we already have, we can indeed commit to houses of a decent size, with more space for people to work from home and access a suitable outdoor greenspace as much as possible.

“We have set the standard and it is the right standard. We want to push expectations and the experience of social housing. It has got to be a fundamental part of economic recovery.”

Labour councillor Gail Casey said: “It’s really good to see the progress we are making. It has been a long time coming since I became a councillor.”