What lies behind Highland Council’s housing success? Well, following Highland Council’s 2023 staff recognition awards, this short article shares with LGIU Scotland insights into the Housing Development Team’s award-winning projects.
The Highland Council’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme 2022/23 has delivered over 500 affordable homes across Highland. As well as creating new homes, the construction activity injected over £80m of work into the Highland economy, supported by almost £50m of Scottish Government grant.
The council’s approved ‘Future Highlands-Health and Prosperity Strategic Partnership Plan recognises that access to good quality affordable homes is crucial to the growth of the Highland economy and the sustainability of communities. The Highland Housing Register currently has approx. 9,000 applicants recorded, which demonstrates the substantial demand and pressure on the supply of affordable homes.
New housing can play a key part in supporting the sustainability of a community, allowing repurposing of land and derelict buildings and regeneration of town centres, to provide homes, services, and amenities.
Highland Council’s staff recognition awards
At the recent Highland Council staff recognition awards, held Friday 9 June at the Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness, three housing teams were short-listed for nominations in the ‘Accessible and sustainable Highland homes’ category with the overall winner awarded to the Housing Development Team.
The Housing Development Team has successfully completed several housing projects as part of a strategy to regenerate Highland town centres. Working together with various partners from design inception to deliver turn-key projects has created affordable homes, commercial space and importantly, restored iconic buildings and town centre frontages.
- The former Arnotts building on Union Street in Inverness has been transformed into 53 high-quality flats, helping to address the demand for rental properties in the city, with six retail units on the ground floor.
- Partnership with a private developer on Church Street retained a retail unit on the ground floor and built 10 flats on the upper floors for key workers.
- The redevelopment of Lochaber House has provided 15 affordable homes.
- Accessible Housing projects utilising FitHomes technology and Firm Foundations to deliver quality homes which, are comfortable, functional, affordable, and safe. Completed homes are designed to be flexible and easily adapted to future needs.
- Dingwall Town Centre, which has limited development opportunities, have brought 76 new affordable homes to the town centre and an additional 66 new affordable homes within other developments.
Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair commented,
“Demand to live and develop business opportunities across the Highlands is high, yet access to affordable housing can be a stumbling block for those wishing to take up employment or to remain in the area. The Highland Council, alongside partners, will continue to work to build a portfolio of affordable housing stock.
“A key element to delivering more affordable homes is the availability of suitable land, therefore the housing development team continually use flexible and innovative ways to utilise existing structures and footprints to create affordable solutions.”
Sponsorship and support for the awards ceremony were provided by Story Contracting, Technology One, Wipro, E J Parker Technical Services, Sustrans and J. Thomson Printers.