Posts Tagged ‘rural housing’

Not feasible?

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We have just received the final version of the feasibility study into new, affordable housing on a site at Ardvourlie. Porteous Architecture has worked with its partners to design an attractive scheme that makes the most of the landscape and views. The Engineer and Quantity Surveyor however have put a damper on things by costing the project at well over £1M.

We have tried a larger scheme of 8x 2 and 3-bed houses to get the price down per unit. We have tried a 4 unit scheme to reduce the roads and services, to get the price down. Whatever we’ve done, we are looking at c£250K per house according to the professionals. Despite positive first impressions, it’s proving an expensive site to develop. The Rural Housing Fund grants for affordable homes are about £100K  per unit– leaving a large gap to fill.

The plan now is to ask Highland Small Community Housing Trust to go over the figures and make sure there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. They have far more experience developing social housing than us. Finally, we somehow have to get the message over to the Scottish Government, that it’s more expensive to build here than their funding scheme will allow!

Have a look at the study HERE

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We need more housing

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Our Housing Needs Survey has now closed. Thank you to all those that took the time to respond. We received 62 responses, which gives us some good evidence to prove to funders that we need more homes in North Harris and Scalpay.

The old Scalpay Care Unit – now two family homes

We want to build on the success of the Scalpay Care Unit project to build homes that will retain young people and families in the community. The survey highlighted the need for starter homes for young people looking to move out of the family home. There were also those with growing families that need more space.

In addition to meeting the needs of the local community, we aim to attract new people to the area. 55% of respondents were from outside the estate, with surveys returned from South Harris and Lewis as well as over the Minch.

One interesting fact was the number of people looking for rental property that had not registered with HHP – the local social landlord. A large portion of these were from the young people looking for first homes. These responses contributed to 60% of surveys requesting 2 bed properties. 20% of preferences were for 3 bed properties.

The survey also highlighted the two big issues facing people looking for housing. The housing market is Harris is limited, with little availability or choice. Secondly, cost is the most common barrier stated. Whilst prices are still low here compared to the mainland, wages are also low meaning that many properties are not affordable to the local community.

The data gained from this survey will now be fed into the Feasibility Study that is underway to develop a number of houses at Ardvourlie. We hope to have the results of that study in April. Should this be favourable, we hope to submit a full bid to the Rural Housing Fund to secure a slice of their £25M for affordable homes in rural Scotland.

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