Call for joined-up thinking to meet homes demand

Developers are calling for a “joined-up approach” including the adoption of new technology to address strong housing demand in the north of Scotland.

Sandy Adam is the chairman of Elgin and Larbert-based Springfield Properties. Picture: Contributed

Joint ventures geared towards unlocking challenging development sites, new build-to-rent schemes and using new technology in the planning process have been put forward as ways to help meet demand for homes in the Highlands and Moray.

The initiatives were offered up at an industry event held by accountancy and business advisory firm Johnston Carmichael, which was attended by Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.

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The attendees, including housebuilders Springfield Properties and Tulloch Homes, discussed how developers, local authorities and the Scottish Government can meet continuing demand for housing stock across the country.

Sandy Adam, chairman of Elgin and Larbert-based Springfield Properties, said: “There is a need for more housing as demand in Inverness and Moray continues to outstrip supply. Springfield Properties supports the use of technology to make the planning process more transparent, which, in turn, should make it more efficient.

“However, this needs to be part of a wider, more joined up approach to delivering more homes in the Highlands and Moray. We need closer collaboration between developers and local authorities that can help unlock challenging sites, such as those close to existing services and schools.”

In February, Springfield, which floated on the stock market in October 2017, delivered a sharp rise in half-year sales and profits and flagged further growth saying the drivers underpinning the market showed no “sign of abating”. The group hailed the benefits of its acquisition of Glasgow-based Dawn Homes, which allowed it to expand into the west of Scotland.

There are currently more than 8,000 people on the Highland Housing Register. The Scottish Government has pledged to deliver 50,000 affordable homes between 2016 and 2021, which will be supported by private sector developers like Springfield and Tulloch Homes.

George Fraser, chief executive of Tulloch Homes, which recently reported a 15 per cent rise in turnover to almost £50 million, said: “The vibrant Highland economy has been created by the actions of both the public and private sectors – and should be celebrated.

“Tulloch Homes looks forward to playing its part in satisfying this demand, working closely with the Highland Council’s planning department.

“The Scottish Government has quite correctly stated everyone should have access to high quality, energy efficient homes and if the introduction of modern technology can play its part in making the planning process more efficient then this should be embraced by all stakeholders.”