North Lanarkshire Council is still on track to achieve its goal of providing 5,000 new homes to tenants by 2035, but there are a number of challenges which must be overcome.

The council has been working towards this goal since 2018, including ambitions to replace all tower blocks with new housing and purchasing empty properties on the open market.

A new report presented to the housing committee states that more than 1,100 new homes have now been handed over to tenants, with a total of 45 housing developments now complete and ten more in progress. New house number 1,000 was part of a development on Dykehead Road in Airdrie.

Many of the new homes are energy efficient, making them less costly to run, and also protected by high standards of fire safety.

Also by September, the council had purchased almost 700 properties that were empty or on the open market, at an average cost of £111,000. This scheme is proving popular and the council expects to purchase a further 100 homes during this financial year, more than its target of 75.

A further 157 homes have been purchased “off the shelf” from developers, including 34 this year with another 104 under construction. There are also plans to purchase another 170 such homes at six locations in future.

The report also detailed a number of challenges facing the council’s ambitions.

First of these was rising costs, not only from market forces causing contracts to swell in value but also new legislation which requires new homes to meet standards for energy efficiency and renewables, on top of high rates of inflation.

Listed buildings can also complicate development as the council works to meet the requirements of Historic Scotland.

The council is also in talks with Scottish Water as the decision not to allow new connections to its existing sewer network has implications for some of its planned housing developments. Alternative solutions continue to be investigated.

Also, many plots of land owned by the council are previously-developed brownfield sites and require remediation before housing can be built. This has made some smaller projects unviable due to economies of scale.

The report was noted by the housing committee which also approved new figures which still showed a target of completing the 5,000 homes on time. Several members also commented that they had visited some of the new houses and were impressed by their quality.