Housing minister tours Highland City Region Deal development at Raining’s Close

Gail Matheson, Highland Housing Alliance; Cllr Janet Campbell; Cllr. Bet McAllister; Highland Council leader Cllr Margaret Davidson and minister for local government, housing and planning, Kevin Stewart, at the new homes at Raining’s Close

The Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) led housing minister Kevin Stewart on a tour of new City Region Deal developments in the region this week, including Raining’s Close in Inverness.

Due to complete in October 2018, the sixteen new homes and one commercial unit at Raining’s Close, brings much needed housing for young people living and working in the Highlands and those wishing to return to the region, reinvigorating this area of the city.

With funding from the Scottish Government’s City Region Deal, the development is a partnership with the Highland Housing Alliance and the Highland Council, built by Ark Estates Scotland Ltd and William Gray Construction. One, 2 bedroom and five, 1 bedroom apartments will be allocated at an affordable rent from the Highland Council and ten, 2 bedroom apartments will be allocated at a mid-market rent initiative from the Highland Housing Alliance and HHA Homes.

The mid-market initiative at Raining’s Close, is specifically targeted at people working in the Highlands who are unable to raise the initial deposit for a mortgage to purchase a home on the open market because of funding shortages.

The intention of the initiative is to enable home ownership in the future, as tenants will be able to buy the homes they are allocated within a specific time frame. The rents for these homes will be above the level of housing association and council rents but will be below current private rental levels for similar properties in the area.

Highland Housing Alliance chief executive, Gail Matheson, said: “We are proud to showcase Raining’s Close, in what has been a successful collaboration with the Highland Council, City Region Deal and all of our partners bringing much needed, and brilliantly designed housing to people living in the local area. The inclusion of a ground floor commercial unit will offer a local business opportunity further enhancing the area.”

Leader of the Highland Council leader, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: “This project is breathing new life back into the city centre and complements the other work going on to make Inverness a more vibrant city. High quality affordable housing is essential across the Highlands and housing is a key priority in our programme. It is great to see this new development so close to being completed in such a prime location. It is an area of the city that has been crying out for regeneration and more homes. The City Region Deal money will see similar projects provide much needed affordable housing across the Highland region.”

Willie Gray from Ark Estates said: “This is a difficult site but one which we realised had great potential for regenerating this previously derelict area and benefitting the wider city. Our team rose to the challenge and we are delighted with the progress so far. We look forward to the first residents moving in later this year.”

The 16 apartments are built in three staged sections that flow to create a single contemporary development. It will also feature attractive residents’ walkways with landscaping and planting, with a natural stone finish and vertical timber cladding around sections of the buildings. Secure cycle and bin stores are included within the development.

The development known as Raining’s Close, is named after the benefactor behind Raining’s School and is located at the top of Raining’s Stairs that connect the Crown area to the City Centre.

The Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, the Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highland and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

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