Councillors approve investment plans for 4,500 affordable Highland homes

The Highland Council remains on track to provide at least 4,500 much-needed affordable homes after members of the environment, development and infrastructure committee approved a new investment plan.

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for 2019-2024 will see a minimum of 500 units being built each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.

The Plan sets out how investment in affordable housing will be directed up until 2024 with 2500 new homes built by 2020 and another 500 per year after that. Money will come from a mix of City-Region Deal cash, prudential borrowing and grants from the Scottish Government as part of its pledge to build at least 50,000 affordable homes between 2018 and 2023.

Since the council house build programme began in 2008/09 in the Highlands over 1,000 council houses and flats have been completed or are under development.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Allan Henderson, said: “Housing is crucial to the growth of Highland’s economy and the sustainability of our communities.

“This investment is helping to support jobs in the building industry, but it is also providing people and families with access to good quality, affordable homes where they can be safe and warm.

“Housing is and will remain a top priority for the council. In our programme ‘Local Voices/Highland Choices’ we give the commitment to doing all we can. The target we have set is a very ambitious goal but I am confident that over the next five years we will succeed thanks to the effective and productive partnership approach we have developed with the Scottish Government, housing associations and the private sector.”

He added: “In our wider enabling role, we will continue to work to bringing forward sites we own for re-development and work with the private sector to unlock the constraints for other strategic sites throughout the Highlands, using or own Landbank Fund, the Scottish Government Infrastructure Loan Fund and any other opportunities that become available.”

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