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Glasgow continues trend in the reduction of Vacant and Derelict Land in the city

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A Glasgow City Council committee today (4 August) learned about the continued fall in the amount of Vacant and Derelict Land (VDL) in the city and approved the acceptance of the 2022/23 Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (VDLF) award to the city from the Scottish Government.

The committee also received an update on the council’s applications to Scottish Government’s Vacant and derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP), and to accept two VDLIP offers of grant.

The total level of vacant and derelict land in Glasgow in 2021 stood at 880 hectares, a reduction of 6% (59 hectares, equivalent to 80 full-sized football pitches) on the 2020 figure.  The number of vacant and derelict sites fell from 675 to 644.

New housing saw the development of 20 hectares of previously VDL sites – notably from public sector housing-led regeneration projects such as Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRAs) or the Affordable Housing Supply Programme – with other new uses including retail, recreation, greenspace, and leisure.

The VDLF is a ring-fenced budget allocated to five local authorities, including Glasgow, for the purpose of bringing vacant land into beneficial use in accordance with council and Scottish Government objectives.  Glasgow and the four other local authorities have consistently had the highest concentration of urban vacant and derelict land of any areas in Scotland, and Glasgow received an allocation from the VDLF of £2.159million for 2022/23.

The Scottish Government’s objectives for the 2022/23 VDLF Programme are: tackling long-term (more than 15 years) Vacant and Derelict Land; stimulate economic growth and job creation; developing a diverse sustainable environment with a focus on either permanent or temporary greenspace; and supporting communities to flourish and tackle inequalities.  The council has put forward seven projects in Glasgow for consideration of funding support, which together have the potential to transform at least 25 hectares of VDL into productive use.

In December 2020, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Land Commission jointly announced the £50million, five-year Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP) – open to local authorities to apply under a competitive bid system – and assessed through the following criteria: sustained place-based approaches; urban green spaces; community-led regeneration; and low-carbon developments and renewables.   

From the latest round of VDLIP funding, two Glasgow projects were successful: Hamiltonhill Green Infrastructure – redevelopment of a long-term derelict school site as part of a housing-led Green Infrastructure masterplan with Queens Cross Housing Association. £924,911 award (profiled over 2022/23); and Ruchazie Greening and Growing – to transform two former primary school sites into attractive, usable community spaces, with Seven Lochs Wetland Park. £670,000 award (£185,000 in 2022/23; £240,000 in 2023/24; £245,000 in 2024/25).

In May, the Scottish Government opened the 2023/24 round for Stage 1 VDLIP applications, with a closing date of 24 June. The council, working with local organisations, submitted 12 bids to this round.  Shortlisting is expected in August, with Stage 2 submissions required by October and funding awards notified in November/December (indicative timeline only).

Councillor Kenny McLean, Convener for Land Use at Glasgow City Council, said: “The continued reduction in vacant and derelict land in the city is a real success story for Glasgow.  The new uses being made at the – now productive – sites across the city undoubtedly bring us economic, environmental and social benefits, and highlight the progress being made in regenerating many different areas.  The grant support for the projects in Hamiltonhill and Ruchazie will continue this progress, benefiting local people and organisations.”

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