Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will today (Wednesday) mark the start of work on a new development that will provide 32 affordable homes to rent and buy in Stornoway.
The scheme is part of a wider plan to deliver 61 homes across the Western Isles by the summer of 2015, supported by close to £4 million in funds from the Scottish Government.
Following today’s Cabinet meeting in Stornoway, the Deputy First Minister will visit the site at Melbost Farm, where she will announce the start of construction work that has been part-funded through a £1.8 million grant from the Scottish Government.
The development – MacKenzie Crescent - consists of 16 homes for affordable rent and 16 shared equity homes to buy as part of the Scottish Government’s low cost initiatives for first time buyers (LIFT) programme.
The investment comes as part of a housing development programme agreed between the Scottish Government, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and the Hebridean Housing Partnership.
In addition to the current investment in new homes, over £500,000 in Scottish Government funding has been provided to buy land on Lewis and Harris for future development.
The Deputy First Minister said: “I am delighted to announce the start of work on this new development at Melbost Farm, which will see the construction of 32 new homes to rent or buy at affordable rates.
“This comes as part of a package of support worth nearly £4 million that will see 61 new affordable homes built across the Western Isles by the summer of 2015.
“In addition, we have provided over £500,000 in funding to purchase land in Lewis and Harris for future development, ensuring a supply of land to meet local housing needs in the years to come.
“Increasing the supply of affordable housing is a vital part of our efforts to build a better and fairer Scotland, and the Scottish Government is doing everything possible to deliver on our target of 30,000 new affordable homes over the lifetime of this Parliament, at least 20,000 of which will be for social rent.
“We are also helping households get onto, or move up the property ladder through our shared equity schemes.
“Housing is and will remain a priority for this Government and we will continue to invest in new affordable homes, despite the severe cuts to our budgets by the UK Government.”
David Blaney, Chair of the Hebridean Housing Partnership, said: “We are delighted to see work commencing on HHP’s latest housing development, which is using a local contractor employing local tradesmen.
“HHP has now built over 300 houses since September 2006 when we were founded, and we are very proud of the quality of our new homes both for rent and sale.”
Calum Mackay, Director of local building firm Calmax Construction, said: “The partnership Calmax has with HHP to construct affordable houses is working well.
“Following considerable consultation with the community during the planning process we are sure that the development will both enhance housing opportunities and be positive for the local environment.”
Cllr Kenny Murray, the Chair of the Comhairle’s Environment and Protective Services Committee said: “The Comhairle is pleased to have been able to provide financial support towards MacKenzie Crescent, the latest phase at Melbost Farm, and to continue our close working relationship with HHP and the Scottish Government.
“This partnership approach is very successful in delivering badly needed new affordable homes and so I look forward to many more developments such as this in the coming years.”
Local Councillor Charlie Nicolson, added: “This will enhance the local area and the community and provide quality new homes for rent and sale.
“Exciting, quality housing developments like this are most welcome in our community, and thanks are due to the Scottish Government, Hebridean Housing Partnership and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar.”