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Council to bid for funds for house building in the Highlands (17/09/09)
Members of The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee have unanimously agreed to bid for funding to reintroduce council house building - after a gap of 14 years.
The Committee is to submit a £1.275 million funding bid to the Scottish Government to support the construction of 51 new Council houses.
As part of the bid, the Committee will also use £1.02million from its Landbank Fund, £1million from the its Housing Revenue Account as well as additional borrowing of £2.57million.
The outcome of the bid will be known in early December 2009 when funding agreements are concluded with local councils.
The housing units are earmarked in the new house building programme on Council-owned or Highland Housing Alliance sites. A possible site at Caol is currently under negotiation with NHS Highland. The sites are at Caol (8 units); Dingwall North (10 Units); Invergordon old golf course ( 12 units); Nairn Corsee ( 9 units); and Tain Scotsburn Road (12 Units).
The proposed new housing will be mainstream two and three bed properties with the exception of those at Nairn, which would be designed for older people or people with other health needs. All the new properties would be comparable to the new energy efficient homes recently developed by the Highland Housing Alliance at Kildary.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of Housing and Social Work, said: “This is an exciting development, which has the full backing of the committee and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will attract Scottish Government funding. Building 51 houses is not going to solve our acute housing needs but it will be an important first step towards, hopefully, bigger future schemes.
“Building more council and housing association rented housing in the communities where they are most needed is a key part of the Council’s strategy for dealing with one of our biggest challenges – the shortage of affordable housing.
“We are currently developing Highland’s third housing strategy. This five-year plan will set our strategic direction - what we aim to do to tackle the different housing issues facing people in the Highlands; our priorities and how we will use our resources including those used to provide new houses and improve existing ones.
“We'd like people’s views on what we are proposing to do. To help get people involved in drawing up our strategy, we've put together a short newsletter which covers our main housing issues and preferred options and incorporates a short survey. This is available on line at www.highland.gov.uk/livinghere/housing/
“It is also available from your local housing office or service point or at the Highland Wide Development Plan Information Days which are being held throughout Highland in September and October. We can also answer any questions you have on housing at these Information Days.”