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