The Affordable Housing Programme has made further progress throughout the islands over the spring and summer, and the Programme has now completed well over 500 homes – a significant milestone. This financial year, 170 are currently on the ground and at various stages of completion.
The first phase at Sinclair Avenue (Goathill) – 20 homes for affordable rent and 8 New Supply Shared Equity – was handed over in early June and work is now progressing apace on the Care elements of the site.
Six flats at the historic Lady Matheson Seminary (Industrial Female School) in the heart of the Stornoway Conservation Area, were completed and allocated in July, and the development was named as a finalist in the category for Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2021. Planning staff worked closely with colleagues in Housing, Historic Environment Scotland, and contractor Lewis Builders Ltd, to ensure the Category B listed building was restored to a high standard, and the flats will make wonderfully characterful and affordable homes.
Further site updates are below:
- Shawbost, Lewis – 4 homes, completed April 2021;
- Lady Matheson Court, Stornoway (Scotland Street) – 6 homes, completed July 2021;
- Sinclair Avenue, Stornoway (Goathill) – 74 homes (16 NSSE), 20 + 8 NSSE completed June 2021;
- Bremner Court, Stornoway (Goathill) – 50 Houses with Extra Care homes, works are ongoing;
- South Dell, Lewis – 6 homes, completed August 2021;
- Barvas, Lewis – 8 homes, contractor on site, handover expected January 2022;
- Tarbert Police Station, Harris – 8 homes, handover expected October 2021;
- Low Flyer, Balivanich, Benbecula – 10 homes, on site, handover expected February 2022;
- Howmore, Uist – 4 homes on site, handover expected October 2022, though a delay in the programme has been advised owing to labour shortages; and
- Cleit Road, Barra – 6 homes, awaiting land transaction and building warrant.
Sites at Crowlista (Uig), Keose Glebe (Lochs), Blackwater (Stornoway) and Lochmaddy (Uist) are at various tender, land transaction or negotiation stages and updates will follow once these stages progress.
Contractors have raised the issue of increased material costs and availability recently – something that has been reported across the sector nationally. We hope this may even out as economic recovery progresses, but any impact on the Programme will be reported accordingly.
Iain MacMillan, HHP Chairman, commented: “We are continuing to deliver new homes right across our islands despite the challenges we have all faced over the last 18 months. We are committed to working with others to meet housing need in the islands and will complete a further 136 homes over the next 12 months. These achievements reflect the strong partnerships we have developed with the Comhairle, Scottish Government and our contractors and communities.”
The Comhairle’s Housing Team has commenced work on the statutory Housing Need and Demand Assessment which will be submitted to the Scottish Government in 2022, and which will inform the next Local Housing Strategy and Affordable Housing Programme.
HHP has also commissioned an island wide Housing Needs and Demand Assessment, the outcome of which will be reported in due course, and it will help to inform future development programmes.
The Housing Land Audit (HLA) which took place earlier this year, has now been published, and it has aided identification of sites throughout the islands (link at foot of page). In addition, talks continue with Grazings Committees and Community Development Trusts to further identify and bank suitable land, following feasibility works. There is good potential for the continuation of rural development in accordance with Comhairle and partner aspirations.
The Comhairle recently welcomed confirmation of Scottish Government funding of £43m for affordable housing for the five-year period from 2021-2026, and is currently in discussion with partners and Scottish Government as to how to progress.
Cllr. Kenny John MacLeod, Chairman of the Communities and Housing Committee, said: “We are, once again, very grateful to the Scottish Government for making a substantial funding allocation available – £43m for the Outer Hebrides has the potential to deliver significant numbers of new affordable homes over the next five years. The Comhairle is committed to working with HHP and the contracting sector to advance investment opportunities, though we are all keen to see a more flexible approach to development to ensure the full allocation is utilised and increased housing opportunities and benefits are delivered throughout our Islands.”
There is currently one 2 bedroom (4 Person) shared equity house available for purchase at Sgeir Ghlais, Breasclete. It is valued at £120,000 for an equity share that will cost between £72,000 (60%) and £96,000 (80%). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for an application pack to start your journey into home ownership.
The next phase of houses available to purchase through the shared equity scheme at Goathill (Sinclair Avenue) will be advertised on the HHP website in due course. Please contact email@example.com to register your interest.
Further information on shared equity may be found below: