New partnership pledges to deliver quality Highlands housing

(from left) Calum Macaulay, chief executive Albyn Housing Society; Dawn Kane, business development manager, Bancon Construction; Scott Clark, project manager, Bancon Construction; Brian McGuiness, contracts manager, Bancon Construction. Front: Yvonne Simpson, asset investment officer at Albyn Housing Society

Albyn Housing Society has started work on its next phase of affordable homes in Inverness having partnered with north east housebuilder Bancon Construction for the first time.

The new Balvonie Braes development will have 49 modern homes including one, two, three and four bedroom flats, semi-detached, detached and terraced units.

Over 30 of the homes will be available for social rent, while nine will be available for mid-market rent and four through the LIFT (Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers) scheme administered by Albyn’s mid-market housing partner Highland Residential.

In recent months, Albyn Housing Society has completed homes in Alness, Conon-Bridge, Inverness, Aviemore and Kirkhill delivering significant progress on its commitment to bring 750 new homes to the Highlands by 2020.

The new development represents a total investment of £7.5 million including £4.8m support from the Scottish Government and £54,000 Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal financing. Bancon Construction began construction on the site in July 2018, with the handover to Albyn Housing Society expected to take place in January 2020.

Calum Macaulay, chief executive at Albyn Housing Society, said: “Our main commitment as a housing society has always been to bring high quality homes to those who need it most. Our new partnership with Bancon Construction will help us to further our commitment to support sustainable communities and bring more quality housing to the Highlands.

“We pride ourselves as being a housing society that can deliver housing at scale. We will continue to do this by building quality, affordable, energy efficient homes for rent and for sale in the communities that need them most, which ultimately, will contribute not only to the region’s housing demand, but the continued sustainability of the region and its distinct communities as a whole.”

Gavin Currie, managing director of Bancon Construction, said: “We were extremely pleased to be awarded the contract by Albyn Housing Society to build 49 properties at the Balvonie Braes development in Inverness, which reflects our extensive experience in constructing high quality homes.

“The properties are a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced homes as well as apartments, which use a mix of materials and have been specially designed to blend well with the existing development.

“As well as marking a move into the Highlands for Bancon Construction, this is our first project with Albyn Housing Society and we are looking forward to working closely with the team during construction.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart added: “I’m delighted to see further work begin at Balvonie Braes, a highly desirable area in Inverness. Supported by £4.8 million of Scottish Government funding, this development will provide a mix of high quality, affordable new homes for rent, mid-market rent and shared equity. This project highlights the positive partnership work ongoing in the Highland Council area through the work of the Highland Housing hub.”

The Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal sets out the areas where the Scottish Government will commit investment of up to £135m and the UK government will commit investment of up to £53.1m, which, together with £127m of further investment by Highland Council and partners, will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.

Chair of Highland Council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee, Councillor Allan Henderson, said: “The £315m Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is already benefiting the Highlands and this important housing project will provide much needed attractive and affordable new homes in the city which will help us retain a young, vibrant workforce.

“Working with our partners, we have other City Region Deal funded housing projects underway across the Highlands and I’m glad to say that we are on target to deliver 750 new mid-market homes over the coming years.”

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