Ar­gyll and Bute needs 3,000 new af­ford­able homes in three years

The Oban Times - - NEWS - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A TO­TAL of 3,000 new homes are needed in the next 10 years in Ar­gyll and Bute to meet the de­mand for af­ford­able hous­ing.

With more than 590 peo­ple per year on the home­less list in Ar­gyll and Bute, the coun­cil says it needs to build the new homes.

For ev­ery house within so­cial hous­ing stock in Ar­gyll there are now three ap­pli­cants. In or­der to mit­i­gate this huge de­mand, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil has writ­ten its pol­icy, Ar­gyll and Bute’s Lo­cal Hous­ing Strat­egy which is now with the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to as­sess.

The re­port re­veals that in the re­gion there are 1,672 house- holds on the hous­ing wait­ing list, with more than 5,000 houses un­able to be used – due to dis­re­pair or their sta­tus as hol­i­day homes or sec­ond homes.

In the past the lo­cal author­ity has tried to bring hol­i­day homes back into use by charg­ing a higher coun­cil tax.

The hous­ing strat­egy is a fiveyear plan de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with so­cial land­lords Fyne Homes, West Highland Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Dunbrit­ton Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

It is hoped that the pol­icy will also en­cour­age any new homes to be built to a strict se­ries of stan­dards – such as each new home de­liv­er­ing a re­duc­tion in fuel poverty, an ex­tended life of the home and an in­crease in home­own­ers’ aware­ness of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties around their homes.

Hous­ing spokesman Coun­cil­lor Robin Cur­rie said: ‘This mile­stone in strate­gic plan­ning is the re­sult of an on­go­ing and very pro­duc­tive col­lab­o­ra­tive process be­tween the coun­cil and its part­ners.

‘Good qual­ity hous­ing, along with ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing sup­port and re­lated ser­vices, has a vi­tal role to play in the so­cial and eco­nomic well­be­ing of Ar­gyll and Bute, and the coun­cil’s new hous­ing vi­sion for the next five years seeks to recog­nise this.

‘That vi­sion – “de­liv­er­ing a hous­ing sys­tem that makes a strong con­tri­bu­tion to thriv­ing and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties and eco­nomic growth” – is one which we and our part­ners are com­mit­ted to achiev­ing and some­thing I am con­fi­dent that all other rel­e­vant agen­cies will buy into and work to­wards.’

The main aims of the hous­ing strat­egy are to en­sure that peo­ple can ac­cess suf­fi­cient, suit­able and af­ford­able hous­ing; peo­ple can ac­cess an ef­fec­tive, per­son­alised hous­ing op­tions ser­vice to meet their hous­ing need; peo­ple are en­abled to live in­de­pen­dently in their own homes; and com­mu­ni­ties are regenerated by im­prov­ing the qual­ity, con­di­tion and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of hous­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Cur­rie con­tin­ued: ‘De­spite very pos­i­tive progress over the past five years, we clearly still have some very sig­nif­i­cant is­sues to tackle, so it is vi­tal that we have an ap­pro­pri­ate strate­gic doc­u­ment to guide us through the next five years.

‘This strat­egy is based on a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment of hous­ing needs and de­mand across Ar­gyll and Bute.

‘This process con­tin­ues over the life of the new strat­egy. I would en­cour­age lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als to en­gage in this by look­ing at the strat­egy and pro­vid­ing feed­back.

‘All the feed­back we re­ceive will be fed into the process and will help to in­flu­ence the on­go­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion and an­nual up­dates of the strat­egy, and there­fore the di­rec­tion of fu­ture hous­ing ac­tiv­ity and hous­ing in­vest­ment in Ar­gyll and Bute.’

The full strat­egy doc­u­ment and sup­port­ing ma­te­ri­als are avail­able on the coun­cil’s web­site at https:// www.ar­gyll-bute. gov.uk/ hous­ing/ hous­ing- strate­gies- con­sul­ta­tions- and- re­search- 0#lhs.

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