Goathill Turf Cutting

Earlier this afternoon, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was delighted to welcome Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to formally mark the commencement of the Goathill Farm Care and Housing Development, with a turf cutting ceremony on the site. The Development will consist of a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units, and 74 houses (58 for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme) and is due to be completed by autumn 2022. 

Mr Stewart commented: “I am delighted to mark the official start of this transformational development, supported by over £15 million of Scottish Government funding. This project has been realised thanks to close partnership working with the Integration Joint Board, Hebridean Housing Partnership and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

“It will provide 124 safe, warm, affordable homes for people, and contribute towards a well-designed, sustainable community. It will also allow people to maintain their independence as they get older, and access appropriate support when they need it.

“Our affordable housing supply programme has over 240 new homes, across the Outer Hebrides, either on site or starting this year, to be delivered by 2021. These developments keep us on track to deliver our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by record investment of £3 billion.”

Over the last couple of years, and via a strong partnership between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP), the Integration Joint Board (IJB), and with financial support from the Scottish Government, an approach was sought to remodel care and support provision locally.

Comhairle Convenor, Cllr Norman A Macdonald, said: “Thanks to the commitment and hard work of all the partner agencies involved in this project, we are now at a stage where we can celebrate the cutting of the first turf.  This marks the start of a process that will provide modern, state of the art facilities to support our older generation, along with new family homes to nurture our younger generation.  With a contribution of almost £16m from the Comhairle’s capital programme, this is a major investment.”

“The whole development will create an attractive living and working environment, and will have a fantastic outlook on to Broad Bay.”

Cllr Kenny John Macleod, Chairman of the Western Isles Integration Joint Board and the Comhairle’s Communities and Housing Committee, stated: “This development represents a step-change in the way we will provide care and support to the population of Lewis. It will combine residential care and extra-care housing for 102 people, providing them with tailored support to meet their needs. As part of this, we will see the further development of respite care to support unpaid carers who need a break from caring, and reablement for people to regain their independence following an illness or stay in hospital. Recognising that our population is ageing, the new venture represents a substantial investment in the care of older people into the future.”  

In addition to the care and support element, the 74 affordable homes being developed on the site will reduce pressure on HHP’s housing list, and provide an excellent opportunity for people to purchase a home via the New Supply Shared Equity Scheme, and take a first step on to the property ladder.

HHP’s Chairman, Norman M MacLeod, said:  “Today is a landmark for our communities and it gives me immense pleasure to see all the hard work of the past couple of years finally come to fruition especially knowing that it will provide so many good quality homes for those who want to rent as well as for first time buyers through the Scottish Government’s Shared Equity scheme”

The turf cutting today marks the culmination of several years’ work, and represents considerable progress against the aims of the Comhairle’s Local Housing Strategy, to provide affordable housing and support the development of extra care housing and care home spaces.