Islands Plans aim to address need for social housing on Arran and Cumbrae

Ten-year Island Plans that will form the foundations on which to address long-standing issues faced by Arran and Cumbrae, including affordable and social housing, are set to be launched next month.

Islands Plans aim to address need for social housing on Arran and Cumbrae

Approved by North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, the plans aim to drive the development of community, economic and environmental wellbeing of both islands.

North Ayrshire Council is collaborating with the Scottish Government and Highland and Islands Enterprise on the development of the ambitious ten-year Island Plans.

Alongside this, the first Annual Action Plans for both islands have also been published and these will be reviewed and updated as progress is made.

Island communities have been at the heart of shaping the plans and several engagement exercises were held with residents, community groups, young islanders and businesses.

Islands cabinet portfolio lead and cabinet member for post-Covid-renewal, Councillor Alex Gallagher, said: “I am delighted to see these plans published. I would like to thank the public on the islands for their cooperation in designing the plans and to Council staff for the work they have put in in delivering the plans in such a short time.

“For the first time, there will be a firm strategy to address the long-standing issues which beset our island communities and a plan to develop economic and social solutions for the coming years in line with the aims of island residents.

“Both Cumbrae and Arran were disproportionately hit – both economically and socially - during the Covid-19 pandemic which exposed how fragile island economies can be.

“These plans – created alongside communities on both islands – are an important first step towards building the type of islands our residents want and deserve.”

Among the major issues raised by islanders during the development of the plans were reliable ferry provision, affordable and social housing, improving resilience of businesses, access to health and social services and population profile.

The plans will be formally launched in early March with an opportunity to view and discuss the plans on Arran on March 7 and March 8, and on Cumbrae on March 10. Details of how to attend each of the sessions will be shared online and through networks when available.

Each Local Island Plan is a ten-year plan with a long-term strategic focus developed with and for the island communities, and while the aims and objectives of the Plan may remain for the duration of the plan, the associated annual action plan will be reviewed annually and updated.

One of the first steps towards helping deliver on the actions will be the creation of Local Island Plan Delivery Groups. Regular update reports will be given to the North Coast and Arran Locality Partnerships and a report on progress made during the first year will be submitted to North Ayrshire Council Cabinet in March 2023.

The ten-year Local Island Plans and Annual Action Plans are available to view online and paper copies will be available from early March at locations across the islands.

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