A five-year strategy to enable the delivery of 6,000 new homes across the Highlands, of which 2,500 will be socially rented, has been agreed by councillors.
Members of The Highland Council’s people committee have approved the council’s Local Housing Strategy for 2017 – 2022, which has indicated that 45% of the new homes will be required as a high priority in Inverness and the surrounding area.
Other communities that have also been identified in the strategy as a high priority for housing development include: Aviemore, Wick and Thurso; Fort William; Nairn; Dingwall; Ullapool and Gairloch; Portree, Boradford, Plockton and Dornie; and Dornoch, Clashmore and Embo.
Councillor Alasdair Christie, who chairs the council’s people committee, said: “I welcome this strategy which will help to deliver the council’s Programme priorities to provide homes across the Highlands so that both young and old have a secure roof over their heads; that the council and its partners will aim to build 500 new affordable homes every year for the next five years; and improve the quality and condition of the housing stock and minimise fuel poverty.”
He added: “Members have scrutinised the draft strategy and we are now confident that as a living and working document it is fit for purpose to deliver the council’s housing priorities.”
The Highland Housing Strategy sets out the council’s vision for housing over the next five years and what the council will do to:
- increase the supply of homes in Highland so that there are enough houses in the right places to meet housing needs;
- contribute to the effective integration of health and social care so that housing design and delivery of housing and housing-related services meet the changing needs of individuals;
- prevent and respond to homelessness and make sure people have the right help to let them make decisions on their housing options; and
- improve the condition of housing and minimise fuel poverty to improve the quality, comfort and affordability of homes.
Peer review feedback from the Scottish Government was taken into consideration on the draft strategy along with comments from a public consultation held this summer.
The council also consulted widely on the Highland Local Development Plan and the main issues for Local Housing Strategy in a series of public events during September to November 2015.
The strategy has been developed collaboratively through the Highland Housing Strategy Group which includes the council’s Planning, Development and Housing Services; registered social landlords; developers; Cairngorms National Park Authority; and NHS Highland.