Aberdeenshire details mid-market rent and key worker development progress



Aberdeenshire CouncilThe first houses built for mid-market rent are set to be handed over to Aberdeenshire Council by the end of this month, councillors have been informed.

The first development of 12 houses in Westhill is nearly finished with a further 12 being completed by the end of August.

This will provide homes to households on modest incomes who are likely to struggle to afford private renting at current market rents but who are also unlikely to be able to access social housing.

The initiative has been achieved by establishing a Liability Limited Partnership (LLP) between Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).

Alex Neil MSP, cabinet secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights, will be visiting the development along with local councillors on 22nd June.

Head of housing at Aberdeenshire Council, Douglas Edwardson, also informed elected members on the social work and housing committee that they were in the process of identifying a number of sites where there is potential for developing them as mid-market rental housing for key workers.

This includes Cameron Street in Stonehaven and along with Police Scotland investigating a joint venture site in Inverurie.

In a further step to provide housing for key workers Aberdeenshire Council has written to private landlords asking them to provide details of any properties to let, which might be suitable for the many new teachers who will be starting at schools across Aberdeenshire from August. The council and its partners are working with teachers moving to Aberdeenshire with a view to meeting their housing needs.

Chair of social work and housing committee, Cllr Karen Clark, welcomed the focus on key workers: “It is no secret that public sector organisations have had difficulty recruiting for a number of posts, largely due to a lack of affordable housing.

“There are a number of sites in Aberdeenshire where there is potential for key worker housing and some of these are owned by the public sector. We are therefore working with Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, NHS Grampian and other organisations to identify opportunities to use existing public sector assets for key worker housing.”

Councillors were also updated on Phase 5 of the council’s new build programme which includes plans for 169 affordable houses across Aberdeenshire.

Muirfield Contracts entering administration in February has delayed the progress of two new-build developments in Fraserburgh and Inverurie. However, a retendering exercise was underway and it is hoped work will recommence in August.

The Inverurie Care Village which includes a 60 bed care home and eight bungalows for rent is nearing completion as is the development of 24 extra care units to accommodate people with learning difficulties at St James’s Court in Inverurie.

Developments in Banff, Peterhead, Westhill and Ballater are also nearing completion and should be ready by end of September. A further 72 homes are planned in phase six of the programme with houses being built in Balmedie, Huntly, Peterhead and Turriff.

Vice chair of social work and housing, Cllr Alisan Norrie, said: “Providing affordable housing is vital for the future economic development of Aberdeenshire. We will continue to work with private providers and the Scottish Government to increase the number of affordable housing in the area.”

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