NHT affordable homes boost for Aberdeenshire
Up to 160 new affordable homes will be provided in the north east as part of a Scottish Government-led initiative unveiled yesterday by social justice secretary Alex Neil.
The homes will be available for affordable mid-market rents on six sites across the region through the National Housing Trust initiative (NHT).
Across Scotland, the NHT initiative is on track to deliver over 2,000 new homes, all without the need for grant subsidy.
Developed by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the NHT is supported by a Scottish Government guarantee.
Visiting the first development of 24 homes at Westhill yesterday, Alex Neil said: “This Westhill development is one of several identified for mid-market rent in Aberdeenshire, and the first built for the council under the ground-breaking National Housing Trust initiative.
“The initiative has been designed to ensure that homes in Aberdeenshire delivered through NHT are affordable, of high quality and without the need for grant subsidy.
“Housing is at heart of the Scottish Government’s ambitions and we are on track to deliver our target of 30,000 new, affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament.
“Partnership working in Aberdeenshire has been key to this initiative’s success, and these homes are a fantastic example of creative, innovative working between the public, private and non-profit sectors.”
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s social work and housing committee, Cllr Anne Allan, said: “It is good to see the Scottish Government, Scottish Future’s Trust and Aberdeenshire Council working together to establish Create Homes Aberdeenshire LLP which will provide much needed affordable housing to people in Aberdeenshire.
“Mid-market rented housing will provide homes to households who are likely to struggle to afford private renting at current market rents and are unlikely to be able to access social housing.
“This is just one of many examples where Aberdeenshire Council is working with partner organisations to address the lack of affordable housing and in doing so attract people to the area to fill key vacancies, especially in the education and care sectors.”
John Low, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes North Scotland, said: “At the very beginning of NHT we recognised the important role it could play in giving people and families the opportunity to rent or buy a new home at affordable rates.
“We have already worked with Aberdeen City Council on delivering 164 new NHT homes in and around the city and are pleased to now be working with Aberdeenshire Council on the delivery of NHT homes in Westhill.
“We believe that the initiative is supporting the delivery of affordable homes across the country. Maintaining a supply of new homes is a key element of Scotland’s economic development landscape and the NHT has proved to be an innovative and successful means of meeting part of the overall demand.”
Christa Reekie, commercial director at SFT, added: “Following the success of the National Housing Trust initiative, we launched the NHT Council Variant which allows local authorities to take the lead in providing new homes to be let at affordable-rent.
“Aberdeenshire Council follows both Stirling and Borders Councils which have both embraced this ground breaking programme.”