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Mike & Colleagues Officially open McBride Drive, Carnoustie

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Today, (Tuesday 4th December), a new 7.5 million mixed tenure housing development at McBride Drive, Carnoustie was officially opened by Mike McManus, a former Angus Housing Association (AHA) staff member, who was responsible for co-ordinating the building of almost 1,000 affordable rented homes throughout Dundee and Angus over a 15 year period.McBride Drive Carnoustie Official Opening

McBride Drive at Westfield Park, Carnoustie is a joint development between AHA and local house-builder, DJ Laing Homes. 59 homes were developed for a mixture of affordable rent, shared equity sale and outright sale.

To mark the completion of the new development, former AHA Development Manager, Mike McManus, unveiled a plaque at the site. Watched by former colleagues and AHA Committee members, Mike also unveiled a second plaque to commemorate the work of the AHA Development team that he led from 1996 until December 2011.

This second plaque marks the work of Mike and his colleagues - former Development Officer, Cath Stott, Clerks of Works, Dave Smart and Colin Gibson, who over the period between 1996 to 2011, worked together to deliver more than 50 separate housing developments throughout the communities of Angus and Dundee. These ranged in scale from a single wheelchair user’s home in Kingsmuir, by Forfar, to large scale regeneration projects in estates such as Strathairlie and Cliffburn in Arbroath and Mid Craigie and Whitfield in Dundee.McBride Drive Carnoustie

In 2011, however, it became apparent to AHA that the cuts in Scottish Government subsidy to Housing Associations would mean huge reductions in their development activity and accordingly, their development team was disbanded last December. This was achieved through a combination of staff redeployment, early retirements and voluntary redundancies.

Speaking after the Opening ceremony, AHA Chairman, Sheena Welsh, said, “Unfortunately, our predictions as to the future levels of our development activity have proved only too accurate. In Financial Year 2012/13, we are only building 4 new homes to rent in Arbroath. Only 3 years ago, we were building more than 100 homes a year. Over the next 3 years, we are planning on building an average of only around 15 houses per year.

With these levels of activity and with significant reductions in the per house subsidy available from the Scottish Government, it was economically impossible for us to retain our development staff. Not only is this a huge blow to the Association and the staff themselves, but there is also the knock-on impact on the local construction industry.McBride Drive Carnoustie

From 1996 until 2011, our small Development Team, based in Arbroath, demonstrated just what can be achieved by a locally headquartered Housing Association working with local developers and design teams. Reducing levels of Scottish Government capital investment in housing can only make the task of local economic recovery all the harder and in our case, it has directly led to job losses in Arbroath.

These job losses were particularly poignant when they were staff who, through their magnificent efforts, contributed hugely to Angus Housing Association reaching the platform of stability we now enjoy. Most importantly, however, they should be immensely proud of the houses they got built and the positive impact that has had for the hundreds of families now calling them home. McBride Drive was the last major development that our development staff worked on together and in Carnoustie alone, where there are very pressing housing needs, they delivered more than 100 new homes in the last 5 years. That is why we asked Mike back today to pay tribute to the work he and his staff did for 15 years in diverse communities throughout Angus and Dundee. ”

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