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Western Isles get £43million boost for affordable homes scheme

Western Isles Council leader Roddie MacKay is keen to invest in housing that will offer young families a route onto the housing ladder.
Western Isles Council leader Roddie MacKay is keen to invest in housing that will offer young families a route onto the housing ladder.

Young families in the Western Isles are to benefit from affordable housing following a £43million from the Scottish Government.

Government officials confirmed up to £43m of new housing investment will be made available across the region over the next five years.

The scheme, revealed in their Resource Planning Assumption (RPA), builds on the previous allocation of £25m over the past three years, which resulted in more than 120 new homes being completed. A further 150 are currently in development.

Council officials hope the investment will cater to young families eager to make their way onto the housing ladder.

Supporting young families

Council leader Roddie MacKay said the additional properties will bring a welcome boost to the local economy.

He said: “The Comhairle is highly committed to continued investment in our housing sector and economy.

“In particular I am keen that we invest in housing that will offer young families a route onto the housing ladder, that will bring empty and under-utilised properties back into productive use and that will help provide new homes around emerging business opportunities.

“I am keen that we find a way to invest in some of our more peripheral communities where demand may not be apparent through the traditional mechanisms of assessing demand.”

Affordable housing game plan

Following the announcement, the Comhairle met with its main delivery partner, Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP), and representatives from the contracting sector to discuss approaches to the delivery of the programme over the next period.

Councillor Kenny John MacLeod, chairman of the Communities and Housing Committee, welcomed the news.

He said: “The recent announcement of £43m for the Outer Hebrides is excellent news that has the potential to deliver significant numbers of new affordable homes over the next five years.

“The meeting with HHP and contracting sector were positive about the investment opportunities ahead and there is good commitment to deliver on the opportunity.

“All parties believe, however, that a more flexible approach will be essential to ensure the full £43m allocation is utilised. A range of ideas were discussed at the meetings and we will be collating and further developing these to discuss with the Scottish Government.”

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