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Housing Project Faces Delay

A CRUNCH meeting with a housing watchdog on Monday will debate a social landlord’s ability to redevelop a Stranraer neighbourhood.

The meeting was arranged after councillors agreed Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) was falling behind on an agreed timescale for building the first phase of houses in Ailsa Gate.

The watchdog, Communities Scotland, oversees development on behalf of the Scottish Government and has the power to take the £8 million five-year housing project away from DGHP.

The first batch of Dick’s Hill tenants were due to move into new houses in Ailsa Gate in the spring after their old ones were demolished.

But the Wigtown Neighbourhood Renewal Committee believe little progress has been made at Ailsa Gate site, leading to fears the whole project is facing lengthy delays.

Speaking at October’s meeting of the committee, Councillor Grahame Forster said DGHP must keep to the agreed timescale for the sake of the tenants.

He said: “We have a meeting next week to discuss the situation and we can find out if the honeymoon is still on — if not let’s get divorced.”

No one from DGHP turned up to the committee meeting during which the social landlord was supposed to update council officials and councillors on progress.

Mr Forster said DGHP’s no show “could easily be construed as a lack of interest”.

Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Iain Dick said he was concerned the whole project was threatened by poor relations between DGHP and the council.

He said: “I’m getting the impression that relations are breaking down.

“It’s just an observation, but DGHP don’t like coming here and we are getting very agitated by inaction.”

DGHP spokesman Mick Higgins said: “Our officials were unable to attend the sub-committee meeting.

“We did, however, give our apologies in advance of the meeting and will continue to work constructively with the council and all the regeneration partners to deliver the plans for our tenant’s new homes.”

He added: “We continue to have a very good working relationship with the council and value very highly the positive dialogue we have with the vast majority of councillors across Dumfries and Galloway.”

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