invernessThe Highland Council has pledged to approve 500 affordable housing units each year for the next five years of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.

Councillors on the environment, development and infrastructure committee yesterday agreed a Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council’s commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.

The Plan sets out how investment in affordable housing will be directed up until 2023 with 2,500 new homes built by 2020 and another 500 per year after that. Money will come from a mix of City Region Deal cash, prudential borrowing and grants from the Scottish Government as part of its pledge to build at least 50,000 affordable homes over the period of this parliament.

Since the Council House Build programme began in 2008/09 in Highland over 1,000 council houses and flats have been completed or are under development.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Allan Henderson, said: “Not only is this investment helping to support jobs in the building industry, but it is also providing people and families with access to good quality, affordable homes where they can be safe and warm.

“Housing is and will remain a priority for the council. There is no doubt that it is a very ambitious goal but I am confident that over the next five years we will reach the target thanks to the effective and productive partnership approach we have developed with the Scottish Government, Housing Associations and the private sector.

“In our wider enabling role, we will continue to work to bringing forward sites we own for re-development and work with the private sector to unlock the constraints for other strategic sites throughout the Highlands, using or own Landbank Fund, the Scottish Government Infrastructure Loan Fund and any other opportunities that become available.”