A vision for the future of housing across Argyll and Bute over the next five years was agreed today.
The council’s Executive approved the Local Housing Strategy 2011-2016, meaning that it can now be submitted to the Scottish Government for ratification.
Amongst other things, the document:
- Sets out a shared understanding of the need and demand for all types of housing, and for related services such as housing support, both now and in the future
- Sets out actions and targets to improve the standard and condition of housing
- Provides clear strategic direction for housing investment
It also addresses key issues such as homelessness, fuel poverty, energy efficiency and housing support for vulnerable clients.
The council’s vision for housing over the next five years is ‘to realise the potential of our communities by ensuring that people have access to affordable, sufficient and suitable housing in Argyll and Bute’.
Underpinning this vision are four strategic aims and 15 key objectives, with 32 associated actions. The strategic aims are:
- People successfully access a choice of suitable and affordable housing options in the areas that they want to live and can participate in the housing market
- Less people will become homeless each year in Argyll and Bute as a result of the council’s proactive approach to prevention and support
- More households with particular housing needs will live in their own homes as a result of proactive forward planning, investment and support strategies
- More people in Argyll and Bute live in well repaired and maintained homes which are affordable to heat
Councillor Robin Currie, Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for rural and island affairs, housing and Gaelic, said: “This strategy details the practical actions which we wish to implement and the specific targets we aim to deliver in order to increase the affordable housing supply, reduce homelessness and address issues of housing support, fuel poverty, energy efficiency and climate change.
“It also incorporates our approach to improving private sector housing and enhancing independent living for those requiring support, adaptations or special forms of housing.”
The strategy is based on a comprehensive assessment of housing needs and demands, and has been informed by extensive consultation with partner organisations and local stakeholders. It has also been developed in accordance with the relevant legislation and Scottish Government guidance.
“There are major issues which this strategy must tackle – among them a chronic shortfall in affordable housing to meet current and future needs, a housing stock which is no longer fit for purpose in terms of quality and condition, one of the highest levels of ‘ineffective stock’ in Scotland, an increasingly ageing population living in accommodation which will not meet their future needs, increasing pressures from homeless households and a drastic reduction in public and private investment for housing and services,” Councillor Currie said.
“These factors make 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.
“We recognise the vital role that good quality housing and appropriate support has to play in the social, economic and physical well-being of all the residents of Argyll and Bute, and we look forward to working in partnership with our communities to implement the Local Housing Strategy.”
The plan will be subject to annual updates and monitoring reports. It will also provide the basis for future bidding for resources to support improvements to the local housing system.