Door opens on council house return to Arran
Affordable homes boost for Brodick
Nearly 50 affordable homes are to be built on Arran in the next four years, it was revealed this week.
Work will start as early as next summer on 26 new council houses, the first to be built on the island for more than 30 years.
They are to be built on council-owned land behind Brathwic Terrace in Brodick. A further 20 houses are planned by the Trust Housing Association at nearby Springbank Farm due for completion in 2020/21. A new road will also be created giving a two-way access to the whole Springbank area.
The moves have been welcomed by the Arran Economic Group, which sees more social housing as vital to the future prosperity of the island.
As part of its recent wide-ranging report, highlighted by the Banner back in August, it found that Arran was the second-most difficult place in the UK after London to access affordable housing.
The study showed that Arran’s housing affordability ratio – based on an average salary of £24,000 – is ranked as 8.2 while London stands at 10.4. The average figure for the UK is 5.3 while the average in Scotland is 3.3.
There are approximately 2,100 households on Arran, yet only about 16 per cent – 342 – are social housing properties, operated by the Trust Housing Association
and there are presently no council houses. Indeed, the majority of properties on the island are privately owned, with 22 per cent of these classed as second homes – meaning a lack of affordable housing is available.
North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane said the council is determined to make more affordable housing available and is working with Arran Economic Group to achieve that aim.
He said: ‘Last year, we increased our commitment to new council housing by increasing the number of new homes from 500 to 750. Now we have increased that further and are pledging to build 1,000 new homes across North Ayrshire by 2022.
‘We know Arran faces unique issues with a real lack of social housing and these new properties in Brodick will be one of the first steps taken to help address that.’
Tom Tracey, chairman of Arran Economic Group, said: ‘We have been working alongside North Ayrshire Council to develop plans to address this critical issue and we’re delighted that the council is committed to new social housing on Arran.
‘Our working-age population is expected to decline by about 47 per cent by 2025. To be clear, we have jobs available across all sectors but few candidates to fill them. One of the primary reasons we are unable to attract or retain employees is the shortage of low-cost permanent accommodation.’
As a result, the council will also work alongside AEG to explore grant funding which would be the catalyst for bringing empty homes on the island back into use. It is estimated that there are currently about 75 properties deemed empty for a variety of reasons. In addition, both the council and economic group will be jointly examining other low-cost home ownership models.
However, the new Brathwic Terrace development is a blow to one resident. Robbie Brown has, over many years, extended his impressive garden onto the site to be behind his home. Council officials confirmed this week that the extra ground will be reclaimed when the development starts.
The future housing site behind Springbank Farm.
The site above Brodick where 26 new council houses will be built.