Hous­ing key to Lochaber’s pros­per­ity

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

HOUS­ING is key to the eco­nomic pros­per­ity of Lochaber and the wider High­lands, ac­cord­ing to High­land Coun­cil leader Mar­garet David­son.

At its meet­ing last week, at which Mrs David­son was present, coun­cil­lors on the Lochaber Area Com­mit­tee heard how the area is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth in a num­ber of sec­tors, in­clud­ing tourism and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Lochaber coun­cil­lors orig­i­nally agreed lo­cal pri­or­i­ties for the area in 2015. Mem­bers have now re­viewed these pri­or­i­ties and agreed they should be fur­ther re­fined and sup­ported by a lo­cal ac­tion plan.

As well as hous­ing, key pri­or­i­ties iden­ti­fied in­clude tourism, in­fra­struc­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nity works and health.

Lochaber Area Com­mit­tee chair­man Coun­cil­lor An­drew Bax­ter said it is im­por­tant Lochaber’s pri­or­i­ties are re­flected in the coun­cil’s pro­gramme.

‘We are well placed to take ad­van­tage of the many op­por­tu­ni­ties, such as air­line is­sues, im­proved cruise liner in­fra­struc­ture and cur­rent ex­change rates to fur­ther de­velop our tourism econ­omy. Hous­ing is high up in our pri­or­i­ties, but it must be the right mix of hous­ing and we are in par­tic­u­lar need of af­ford­able hous­ing for fam­i­lies. We plan to de­velop a spe­cific hous­ing strat­egy for Lochaber which ad­dresses lo­cal needs.

Mrs David­son added: ‘If we don’t get hous­ing right, we won’t get our eco­nomic devel­op­ment right. We have real im­pe­tus and ex­cel­lent sup­port for achiev­ing am­bi­tious hous­ing devel­op­ment and we are in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture and ex­plor­ing land op­tions.’

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