Orkney Islands Council commissions new research into housing needs

Orkney Islands Council commissions new research into housing needs

Orkney Islands Council is honing in on housing pressures by launching an enhanced programme of research through community and stakeholder engagement.

Every five years the council must assess future housing needs across the whole of the Orkney population, and submit this assessment to the Scottish Government. This work will be enhanced in 2023 to focus additionally on the needs of the workforce that Orkney requires to deliver its essential public services to sustain and grow its economy.

Councillor Gwenda Shearer, chair of the council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, said: “We know from demand within housing services at the council and elsewhere, and from speaking with employers and our wider community, that there is a very high level of housing demand in Orkney, and limited supply to meet that.

“This may have a serious impact on business and economic growth, and on the delivery of services such as health and social care as employers are not able to attract the staff that they need.

“There are also concerns over the housing options for students attending Orkney’s three Further and Higher Education establishments – Orkney College, University of Highlands and Islands, and Robert Gordon University – as well as the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus at Stromness.

“By carrying out this research and wide ranging engagement, we will build on existing research already completed to fully quantify and evidence the housing needs of different demand groups, covering issues such as the amount of housing needed, its location, size and type and from there work out how solutions can potentially be financed and delivered.”

Frances Troup, head of community learning, leisure and housing at the council, said: “Our housing needs and demand assessment generally focusses on the social rent landscape, owner occupier levels and low cost home ownership options in the county. This enhanced piece of work we’ve launched will also be looking at what exactly do those moving into Orkney want in terms of style of property, location, and tenure, and will also explore other options and gaps in Orkney’s housing mix such as mid market rent.”

Specialist housing consultancy group Indigo House has been appointed to address these questions and over the coming weeks will be promoting surveys targeted at a range of different groups including:

  • Recent or possible movers to Orkney – to find out more about their experiences and the issues they have faced in getting suitable housing.
  • Businesses – to find out more about the impact that a lack of suitable housing is having on their business and its employees.
  • Students – to better understand the need for student housing in Orkney.
  • Existing private landlords – to find out more about this part of the housing market in Orkney and to better understand the contribution it can make to housing residents and incoming workers.

The council is encouraging stakeholders to look out for the surveys that will be issued, including on its OIC Updates facebook page.

Anyone who takes part and leaves their details will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 5 sets of £50 shopping vouchers.

The survey can be found here.

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