Minister visits new social housing developments in Shetland

DSC_5814AHousing minister Kevin Stewart witnessed the expansion of social housing in Shetland during visits to two Hjaltland Housing Association (HHA) developments last week.

The Minister was in Shetland attending the meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands, during which he took the opportunity to meet representatives of the Association and Shetland Islands Council to discuss some of the issues facing the construction industry in Shetland and what more the Scottish Government could do to help increase the number of social houses under development.

Mr Stewart said: “It was a pleasure to visit these two excellent developments in Shetland. I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has provided funding to make these new homes a reality.

“The Scottish Government is committed to the delivery of at least 50,000 affordable homes across Scotland over the lifetime of this parliament – backed by more than £3 billion of investment. Access to quality housing is a vital part of our drive to secure economic growth, promote social justice, strengthen communities and tackle inequalities.

“I’m clear that rural and island communities must take the opportunity that is available, and use our £25 million Rural Housing Fund and £5m Islands Housing Fund. These both offer a new dimension to the existing publicly funded housing system and will increase the supply of good quality affordable housing in rural and island communities just like these new homes.”

DSC_5903The Scottish Government has invested £3m in the sites in Lerwick at Lyndhurst Place, Fort Road, and at the former Met Office, which when completed will house up to 70 people.

The Association is hoping to move tenants into the one-bedroom Lyndhurst Place flats this month while keys for the flats and houses on the old Met Office site are due to be made available in October this year.

HHA chairman Bobby Hunter said: “The Scottish Government has provided the lion’s share of the funding for these developments which will be of great help in tackling the well-documented housing shortage in Shetland.

“We were pleased to be able to host the minister so he could see for himself the high quality of design and build – and to brief him on planned future development and the blockages that will impact on this.”

The Association is also currently on site with 11 units at Burnbank / Hill Grind and is due to start work on four units at Gibblestone Road and 16 homes at Gaet-a-Gott by the end of the month.

A planning application is also currently being considered for 27 flats at King Harald Street which will include 10 specially designed “Homes for Life” units. It is hoped that construction will begin in August 2017.

The Staneyhill Masterplan for almost 300 houses is nearing completion and the Association is anticipating being on site there during 2018 with the development expected to take over 10 years to complete.

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