Record Investment for New Affordable Homes in Highland
Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm today announced record £31.5 million spending for affordable housing in Highland this year. The investment through Communities Scotland, the Executive’s housing and regeneration agency, will enable 560 new homes to be built for rent or low-cost ownership in the Highland region. This is the second year of the £1.2 billion programme announced in 2005 which will provide 21,500 new or improved affordable homes across Scotland by 2008.
Mr Chisholm said: "The various communities across Highland have their own distinct housing needs – particularly for affordable housing. This will make a huge difference for hundreds of people and their families in Highland to get decent homes they can afford.
Communities Scotland is working hard on the ground with various local agencies in Highland to deliver exactly that. A lot of progress has been made. However, there is much more we can do - and now will do as a result of this record Executive investment. But there is a golden opportunity later this year for The Highland Council tenants to add considerably to this. Voting ‘yes’ for stock transfer means the Treasury will write off debt – allowing much higher investment, stable rents, more control and better services. It also makes community ownership a reality so that local people really do have a say in their housing - and their future."
Communities Scotland area director for the Highlands and Islands, David Nicol, added:
"The budget of £31.5 million represents a significant increase in funding for Highland. The Communities Scotland local team, based in Inverness, will continue to work with the Highland Council and local housing associations to identify need and get best value for money in delivering quality homes for people across the area."
An early benefit from involvement in the Community Ownership Programme for stock transfer is the inclusion of £10 million towards increasing affordable housing across the Highland area.
Details of the programme and examples of projects in Highland which will benefit from funding this year include:
Lochalsh and Skye
The Home Farm development continues on site in 2006/07 and will receive over £3 million in funding from Communities Scotland. Phase one, which was approved last year, is well underway and will provide 41 new homes.
Phase two will be approved this year and will provide a further 51 of the total 280 new homes in Portree that this project will eventually provide.
Badenoch and Strathspey
The £12 million development at North Dalfaber in Aviemore is well underway. This project will deliver some 100 homes over the next three years. These will be of a high standard and will incorporate many energy-saving features. The development will also use a woodchip- fuelled district heating system. The project itself is a key element in the regeneration of the Aviemore area.
The project at Cottechan Hill will receive around £750,000 in funding to provide 18 much- needed new homes in Mallaig. This is an area that is difficult to develop because of its topography.
Pentland Housing Association will receive over £2 million to continue supporting projects such as Manson’s Lane and Spring Park Farm in Thurso. Once completed these two projects will provide the area with 37 new homes.
Over £1 million of funding will see the completion of 14 much-needed homes in Lochinver and Scourie this year.
Projects at Torridon, Shieldaig, Gairloch and Kinlochewe will together deliver 24 much-needed homes from an initial investment of around £750,000.
The agency is working in partnership with the The Highland Council, a number of private developers and both Cairn and Albyn housing associations to meet the demands for housing in the city.
In 2005/06 major developments at Woodside of Culloden, Maclennan Crescent, Merkinch, Leachkin Brae, Dell of Inshes, Milton of Leyes and Dalneigh were approved where a range of housing will be available to rent and buy. These projects will receive over £10 million in funding this year. On completion this will mean over 220 new homes in these areas. Over and above this, the Maclennan Crescent site will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the area while the development of the former hostel site at Dalneigh will remove a derelict building which was subject to repeated acts of vandalism and replace this with 43 new flats for rent or sale.
The Leachkin Brae development saw the launch of Homestake, a new shared equity grant mechanism, in Inverness in October. In addition to the other projects mentioned, investment in the Highlands will provide about 90 Homestake homes for purchase at discounted prices to help first-time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder throughout the area.