Key housing document out for public consultation

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Published Date: 

4 Jul 2011 - 12:40

Argyll and Bute Council’s proposed vision for the area’s housing sector over the next five years has been issued for public consultation.


The consultative draft Local Housing Strategy 2011-2016 was unveiled in the presence of key housing partners including Fyne Homes, West Highland Housing Association, Dunbritton Housing Association and Argyll Community Housing Association.


Councillor Robin Currie, Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for rural and island affairs, housing and Gaelic, said: “This milestone in strategic planning is the result of an ongoing and very productive collaborative process between the council and its partners, and I am delighted that the consultative draft is now out for public comment.


“Good quality housing, along with appropriate housing support, has a vital role to play in the social, economic and physical well being of Argyll and Bute, and the council’s proposed housing vision for the next five years seeks to recognise this.


“That vision – ‘realising the potential of our communities by ensuring that people have access to affordable, sufficient and suitable housing in Argyll and Bute’ – is one which we and our partners are committed to achieving and something I am confident that all other relevant agencies will buy into and work towards.”


The main aims of the local housing strategy include setting out a shared understanding of the need and demand for all types of housing and related services such as housing support, both now and in the future.


The document also seeks to set out how the standard and condition of housing will be improved, provide clear strategic direction for housing investment and identify specific commitments by the council and its key partners to enable the delivery of shared priorities.


The main issues the strategy seeks to address are:


  • A substantial and increasing housing shortfall across Argyll and Bute. Some 3,140 affordable homes and 3,800 market homes are required to meet current needs and future demand (although it should be noted that not all of this shortfall would or should be addressed solely through new build supply).
  • A housing stock which is often no longer fit for purpose in terms of quality and condition and much of which does not match current or future requirements. Less than 50% of the social rented stock meets the Scottish Housing Quality Standard while 10% of private sector housing is below the tolerable standard, and over 38% of local households are officially in fuel poverty.
  • One of the highest levels of ‘ineffective stock’ in Scotland - around 10% of local dwellings are long term vacant or used as second/holiday homes.
  • An increasingly ageing population living in accommodation which will not meet its needs in the future.
  • Significant numbers of households with particular needs which are not currently being met - 1,550 households require specialist forms of accommodation, 1,170 households require housing support and 2,000 households have an unmet need for some form of aid or adaptation to their existing home.
  • Increasing pressures from homeless households, often with a range of complex needs. Some 950 households apply to the council as homeless each year.
  • A range of additional constraints, increased costs and potential inequalities of access arising from the unique, rural geography of Argyll and Bute
  • A drastic reduction in public and private investment for housing and services which makes it vital that needs are identified and prioritised appropriately and that strategic planning focuses on maximising the impact of limited resources to deliver the most effective outcomes. The total Scottish Government budget for investment in new affordable housing across the whole of Scotland in 2011/12 is less than the investment Argyll and Bute secured alone in the years prior to the current financial downturn.


Councillor Currie said: “We clearly have some very significant issues to tackle, so it is vital that we have an appropriate strategic document to guide us through the next five years.


“This draft is based on a comprehensive assessment of housing needs and demand across Argyll and Bute, and has been developed following extensive consultation with key partners and other relevant agencies.


“I would now urge local communities and individuals to engage in the process by looking at the draft document and letting us know what they think of it, and any areas which they think might be improved.


“The comments we receive will be fed into the process and will help influence the final version of the strategy, and therefore the direction of future housing activity and housing investment in Argyll and Bute.”


The full strategy document and supporting materials are available on the council’s website at


Members of the public are able to submit comments via an online survey at the same address.


The final Argyll and Bute Local Housing Strategy 2011-2016 will be submitted to the Scottish Government by the end of this year.