The deputy leader of East Ayrshire Council insists higher council rents will help the local authority build new housing developments in New Cumnock.

SNP’s depute leader Jim McMahon says a 7.5 per cent hike in council rents is needed to forge ahead with the new homes in the town’s Mason Avenue and Castle Street.

He made the statement during at East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet meeting about progress on several developments forming part of its Housing Asset Management Framework.

The two developments in New Cumnock have been put on hold pending the outcome of a rent consultation with council tenants.

READ MORE: East Ayrshire Council potential rent increase for housing

They will be asked whether they wish a 6.5 per cent or 7.5 per cent rent increase. Only the higher option will allow projects at Mason Avenue and Castle Street in New Cumnock to go head.

He said: “For me the the [development] in Mason Avenue has would be the one that really has a big impact on New Cumnock.

“I think there a snapshot in time back in 2018 when I had the concerns  about the availability of  a particular type of property.”

He said that there were 54 people on the waiting list for a particular type of housing that hasn’t been available in the village.

“That’s why that was introduced to the SHIP [strategic housing investment programme)," he said.

“We know that for every pound that we spend in housing that that has a
benefit of £4 in Health and Social care, so for me it’s crucial at this time.

“I know and I fully acknowledge the impact that any rent increase, but to be able to deliver and save in the the longer term, especially around about the New Cumnock Area, I think it’s crucial.

“He added that there were also a number of ways the council can support those struggling with the cost of their rent."Cumnock Chronicle:
The other developments include purchase of ex-council housing in Catrine, refurbishment of flats in Dean Street, Kilmarnock, demolition of flats in Galston, utilisations of properties in Clinchyard Place, Galston for Moving On service. and demolition of flats in Darvel and Newmilns.

Mr McMahon said: “I took great pride looking at some of the before and after images.

“Houses and homes are part of our community. It is wider than just housing and homes, it is the impact in each community and how the vision and delivery of housing will have a major impact on everybody that lives there.

“When I look at what we have delivered it has a ‘wow’ factor.”

He highlighted the progress on work at Dean Street in Kilmarnock.

He said: “Dean Street comes at a a a great cost and a great expense. However looking at it, it’s crucial that we do it for that area.”

He said that the area was a black spot in the town and that it was recognised by the council that the work is needed to support whole area.

“I think that is £3.3 million, but it’s not just for 12 flats. We recognize the impact that will have on the full area, so it’s crucial that we get that agreement.”

Council Leader Douglas Reid added that the proposals were also playing a part in wider regeneration, wellbeing and climate change.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Labour Group Leader Councillor Maureen McKay said it is important that tenants understand the consequences of choosing one rent level over any other.

She added: “I think it’s really helpful the way the implications have actually been set out and I am making the assumption that that’s the way it will be presented to the tenants within the consultation itself, so that people just understand what the knock on impacts and consequences are.

“What we are managing to do is address the issue of housing in a very holistic way which makes us really focus on what the complex interrelated needs of our entire and emerging  communities actually are.”


  • St Cuthbert’s Street, Catrine  – tenants are being relocated ,with the council buying all but one of the ex-council houses there.
  • Dean Street, Witch Street and Orchard Street, Kilmarnock – Demolition of the wing blocks at 1 Witch Road and 2 Orchard Street, as well as three flats in A, B and C in 2 Dean Street and D,E and F at 28 Dean Street.
  • The remaining 12 flats above the shops will be fully refurbished and re let. The council requires consent from all commercial owners by July 2024 to carry out the work.
  • Bentinck Square, Galston
  • Flats at blocks 4-11 Bentinck Square and housing at 1-3 Bentinck Square will be demolished and the ground landscaped. The estimated costs for the project are £0.483m.
  • Identified by Health and Social Care Partnership for extension to their Moving On service for people with complex needs. A 24 hour staff base to be located at 4-7 and 12-15 Clinchyard Place.
  • Clinchyard Place, Galston 
  • A further two blocks at 23-26 and 29-32 Clinchyard Place, Galston, have been identified to support the Scottish Government’s Ukraine Longer-Term Resettlement Fund programme proposals.
  • East Main Street/ Kirkland Road, Darvel
  • Works are underway to conclude the demolition of blocks 83, 85 and 87 East Main Street and 1 Kirkland Road. Discussions will take place to develop a useable community space.
  • Campbell Street, Newmilns
  • Demolition and necessary drainage works anticipated to start in January 2024