Affordable housing plan for Highlands announced

The Highlands are set to benefit from a scheme which will fund the building of 78 new affordable homes across the region. Picture: Getty
The Highlands are set to benefit from a scheme which will fund the building of 78 new affordable homes across the region. Picture: Getty
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THE Scottish Government has announced plans to build 78 new affordable homes across the Highlands.

• 78 affordable homes are to be built across the Highlands

• National Housing Trust initiative scheme behind proposal

Contracts have been signed for the development of properties across Inverness, Ardersier, Kiltarlity, Golspie and Kildary through the award-winning National Housing Trust initiative (NHT).

The move announced by housing minister Margaret Burgess has been welcomed by Highland Council.

Housing and resources chairman Dave Fallows said: “It really is very good news that a further 78 homes are set to be delivered through the NHT scheme in Highland.

“This is a welcome boost in the delivery of affordable housing across the area, that demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together.”

NHT was developed by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust. It sees developers and local authorities jointly funding the purchase of new homes so they can be made available for rent to households at below market rates.

Each local authority’s contribution to the funding package for homes in its area is supported by a Scottish Government guarantee.

Mrs Burgess said: “It is my belief that everyone should live in a comfortable home which doesn’t cost the earth to keep.

“A vibrant, expanding housing sector can stimulate economic growth by protecting and creating jobs and supporting regeneration.

“The innovative National Housing Trust initiative is already delivering hundreds of much-needed homes across Scotland. This deal will deliver around 80 new homes for people in the Highlands, secured for very little taxpayers’ money.

“It is a key priority for this government to continue to maximise investment in housing though new funding models.”

Gail Matheson, acting chief executive of Highland Housing Alliance, said: “These houses will be delivered between now and the end of 2014. This builds on the 42 houses we built under the first round of NHT and which are all fully occupied.

“The close partnership working with both the National Housing Trust and Highland Council has ensured the delivery of much needed mid-market rental properties which the tenant will be able to purchase after five years.

“The first round of NHT saw incredible demand for this type of tenure, and this second round will go some way to easing demand. Construction of these houses will also bring much needed work to the construction industry in the Highlands.”

Christa Reekie, commercial director at the Scottish Futures Trust said: “The Highland Housing Alliance is just one of a large number of organisations across Scotland that are embracing the commercial opportunities offered through the NHT initiative.

“Whilst meeting the need for housing at affordable rent, the NHT initiative, currently worth £150 million, has also been designed to aid the economy and keep people in jobs by allowing developers and house-builders to kick-start construction on stalled sites.

“This deal with The Highland Council demonstrates the strength of bringing the Council, SFT and Highland Housing Alliance together in a joint venture to deliver affordable housing for the benefit of local residents.”