Argyll and Bute Council has approved the designation of settlements across the area as ‘pressured areas’.
The decision – which does not affect settlements in Bute and Kintyre - means that the ‘Right to Buy’ legislation is suspended in these places for all registered social landlord tenants who took out a new tenancy on or after September 30 2002.
The move was made in partnership with Argyll Community Housing Association and Dunbritton Housing Association in a bid to help address the acute shortage of affordable housing in these areas.
It means that a number of homes which could otherwise have been sold off to sitting tenants under the Right to Buy scheme will continue to be available for let to those local families and individuals who are considered to be in the greatest housing need.
The new pressured area designation will apply to all eligible property types in the designated areas, and will cover a period of 10 years, starting in January 2012.
Spokesperson for rural and island affairs, housing and Gaelic, Councillor Robin Currie, said: “We have a responsibility to look at all options open to us to try and increase the supply of affordable homes.
“Some areas are suffering from a severe shortage of social rented housing, which is having an impact on individuals and families on housing waiting lists throughout the region.
“Adding these settlements to the Pressured Area Designation group will hopefully prove an effective measure in helping to ensure that there are more affordable properties available for those who most need them.”
Since the introduction of the Right to Buy legislation in 1980, more than 5,540 council and former council homes have been sold in Argyll and Bute – over 50% of the original stock.
The council transferred its housing stock to the Registered Social Landlord - Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) - in 2006. Since then, the number of homes sold through Right to Buy has continued to deplete the affordable homes available to meet local needs.
The settlements which councillors have agreed to add to the PAD group for a period of at least 10 years are:
- COWAL - Ardentinny, Blairmore, Colintraive, Dunoon/Kirn, Glendaruel, Innellan, Kames/Tighnabruiach, Kilmun, Lochgoilhead, Sandbank, Strachur, Strone, Toward.
- MID ARGYLL - Lochgilphead, Achahoish, Ardrishaig, Cairnbaan, Clachan, Crinan, Ford, Furnace, Inveraray, Kilmichael/Glassary, Minard, Tarbert.
- ISLAY, JURA and COLONSAY – Ballygrant, Bowmore, Bridgend, Bruichladdich, Keills/Port Askaig, Port Charlotte, Port Ellen, Portnahaven, Jura, Colonsay.
- LORN - Oban, Appin, Barcaldine, Bonawe, Clachan Seil/Easdale, Connel, North Connel, Dalmally, Dunbeg, Kilchrennan, Kilmore, Kilmelford, Kilninver, Lochawe, Taynuilt, Luing.
- MULL and IONA – Bunessan, Craignure, Salen/Aros, Tobermory
- COLL and TIREE – Coll, Tiree
- HELENSBURGH and LOMOND – Arrochar, Cardross, Garelochhead, Kilcreggan, Helensburgh, Luss, Rhu, Rosneath.