Council homes set for Moray health centre site

Moray CouncilThe former health centre in Forres is to be demolished to make way for council housing after Moray Council purchased the site from NHS Grampian.

As part of the conditions of sale, carried out with the help of funding from the Scottish Government, the council is required to demolish the existing building within nine months.

Preparations are being made for the submission of a planning application to develop the site for 12 one-bedroom flats with on-site car parking. Subject to funding, a start could be made on site later this year.

Councillor Eric McGillivray, who chairs the council’s communities committee, said: “I am delighted we have managed to acquire this prime site for housing close to the town centre.

“The council has added more than 300 new homes to its housing stock over the past few years and this latest acquisition of a site for further housing development is very welcome.”

The local authority has also heard that its five-year strategy to tackle homelessness in Moray has been a great success.

In that time, homelessness has been reduced by nearly 42 per cent and the use of temporary bed-and-breakfast accommodation has also been vastly reduced.

A report to the council’s communities committee last month revealed that repeat homelessness in Moray is now 3.7 per cent - well below the national average of 5.8 per cent.

The strategy was implemented in 2010 to prevent homelessness wherever possible but to ensure that appropriate support and assistance was provided when it did arise.

The latest update on the impact of the strategy shows that 310 new council houses have been built in Moray over the five-year period and that the council’s temporary housing stock had been reduced from 189 to 159.

Councillors were also told that the council continues to face a number of challenges in relation to homelessness, among them the introduction of Universal Credit which is due to be rolled out in Moray in September of this year and the impact of which remains to be seen.

The report added: “Although the completion of a homelessness strategy is now optional for local authorities, this council has seen real benefits from having such a strategy in place.

“For that reason, it is recommended that the council develops a further homelessness strategy from 2015 to 2018 that will run concurrently with the local housing strategy.”


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