Highland Council’s investment to provide quality affordable housing continues as contractors start back on site
Councillors have welcomed the news that work on Highland council housing development initiatives across the Highlands have restarted.
Prior to the current lockdown, work was underway on 312 homes. A further 191 were in the tender process and 134 were waiting for tenders to be received. Contractors are now back working and the overall value of contracts on site and about to be let is in excess of £60 million. This investment is set to provide a massive boost to the local construction industry.
The Council’s overall affordable housing targets are set out in it’s Local Housing Strategy that commits to a 5 year programme, with over 600 new Council homes being built or ready to go on site in the highlands.
In the Strategy there is agreement to fund the new build Council house element utilising monies from Scottish Government grant funding, City-Region Deal, council borrowing supported by rental income and the Council’s land bank facility.
Chair of the Economic and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Trish Robertson said: “Across the Highlands we have work on a total of 637 housing units either about to restart after the lockdown or in the process of getting developed. This represents over £60 million worth of contracts which is certainly going to provide a very welcome boost for the local construction industry. The high number of units reflects our ambitious target and shows all the hard work going on by our housing development team, in partnership with Highland housing organisations and Scottish government officers, to provide quality affordable homes.”
“We want to increase the supply of homes so that we have enough houses in the right places to meet local housing needs. We also want to be able to support people to live independently for as long as possible in their own homes and communities. Good quality, affordable housing helps people to enjoy better health and achieve their full potential. Good housing also contributes to stronger communities that benefit everyone living in them.”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “These new homes will provide safe and warm places to live and will help to support growth and infrastructure investment across the Highlands, which is good news for local businesses and communities. Scotland’s rural areas are a major natural asset, with environmental quality that underpins key sectors such as food and drink, tourism, energy and the creative industries. That’s why tackling depopulation and helping more people to stay and move to the Highlands is so important.
“As housebuilding resumes safely, partnerships such as this between the Scottish Government, Highland Council and housing organisations are vital to sustain our construction industry and to help us continue our ambition to deliver more affordable homes that meet peoples’ needs.”