A disabled Speyside woman was given the keys to her very first home as nearly 20 new council houses were unveiled yesterday.
Louise Clark is moving into a specially adapted property in Dufftown which was built as part of a £2.6million drive to create more affordable housing in the area.
The 19 new homes in the town are the first to be completed in Speyside for decades, and will mainly be occupied by local families.
Miss Clark suffers from cerebral palsy and said moving into the modern, wheelchair-friendly accommodation would give her a new lease of life.
She said: “I’ve been living with my parents, so like many in that situation it’s so exciting to have my own place and independence.
“I had a look round last week and it’s been built so I can manage everything, it’s just lovely and I can’t wait to move in.”
The development has taken shape on a brownfield site, which was previously home to a cooperage and auction mart and was bought by Moray Council in 2014 to help meet demand for low-cost housing in Speyside.
The houses are designed to be energy efficient, and the local authority hopes they will help convince young people to remain in the region.
Chairman of the council’s communities committee, George Alexander, said: “This investment in Dufftown is one of many affordable homes projects to come to Moray, and will give some relief to the housing shortage in Speyside.
“These homes will be economic in energy terms, which should help reduce fuel poverty, and have turned an ugly industrial site into a pleasant development.”
The complex contains eight one-bedroom cottage flats, some of which have been built specially for older people.
There are three two-bedroom homes, six houses with three bedrooms and two with four.
The £2.6million works contract was awarded to Elgin-based Robertson Construction.
The firm allocated a team of 30 workers to create the homes over the past year.
Regional managing director for Robertson Northern, Frank Reid, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with the council and to have been involved in this allocation, and I look forward to seeing their new residents enjoy these homes in the near future.”