Writing for you
We are all still feeling the shockwaves after the result of last week’s European Union referendum, and we will be for some time.
It was, as they say, a “game changer” – in so many ways.
Not only does Britain now have to negotiate its departure from the EU, on as favourable terms as possible, but there will soon be a new prime minister, and the wider longterm consequences for our economy and national politics are far from clear.
There are particular potential repercussions in Scotland, given that Scots – and indeed a majority in South Lanarkshire – voted to remain.
I for one hope no-one will use this to try to justify a second independence referendum, but there is a threat to do so, and that will cause further uncertainty.
But amid all the doubt that we face in the months ahead, I am pleased to say that your local council will continue to be a source of certainty and solidity. You can continue to rely on the services we provide, and be sure that we will continue to protect key frontline services as much as we can, whatever the economic conditions.
I recently met a local resident in a place which I think symbolises your council’s investment in South Lanarkshire.
I enjoyed a cup of tea with Isa Russell at her new home, a one-bedroom flat which is not just beautifully built and decorated, but it has a lovely modern kitchen and bathroom and is fitted with energy- efficient central heating.
Her new home means even more than that to Isa. It has taken her nearer to her family, and particularly her grandkids, who now have a garden to play in when they visit her. She can now walk to shops and is closer to her friends and can take part in activities at local centres.
It will probably surprise some people that local authorities are still building council housing. While for many years it was harder to do so, by carefully managing our finances and carefully developing a long-term capital investment programme, we have been able to set out plans to build 600 new homes in the next few years.
This is important for many reasons. Obviously it is particularly good news for the local people who will now find themselves, like Isa, in a nice new home. Too many residents and families are waiting for an affordable place to live and I am delighted that the council is doing all it can to address that problem, despite the financial restraints we face.
Council housing provides wider benefits too. The homes we are building are improving communities across South Lanarkshire, giving people more pride in their neighbourhoods and creating smart modern buildings, in some cases on land freed up by our inspiring school rebuilding programme.
Isa’s new home is part of a development in Fernhill which by this autumn will have replaced old tenement flats with 30 one and twobedroom flats, 36 two and three-bedroom semi-detached houses, and four wheelchair accessible bungalows.
The Fernhill project is the latest part of a major redevelopment project for the area, and it is one of three sites which are already under construction or completed, providing a total of 118 new homes, half of which are designed to meet particular needs and all of them designed to meet high levels of energy efficiency.
As well as Fernhill, there are a number of projects in East Kilbride, Uddingston and Carluke.
Our Glasgow Region City Deal plans include hundreds of new homes in community growth areas in Hamilton, Newton and elsewhere.
Some readers will benefit directly and personally from these projects. But I hope everyone will appreciate that this sort of investment by the council in the fabric of South Lanarkshire has benefits for us all. We will continue to invest in our area’s future, whatever the uncertainty elsewhere.
I am pleased to say that your local council will continue to be a source of certainty and solidarity South Lanarkshire Council leader
New home Councillor Eddie McAvoy hands Isa Russell the keys to her new council house