Taking action to address the housing emergency in Argyll and Bute

Since becoming the first local authority in Scotland to declare a housing emergency, Argyll and Bute Council has been working closely with its partners to address key issues.

The council hosted a Housing Summit with in November 2023, bringing together 90 partners from public, private, third and community sectors who pledged their support to take decisive and bold action to address the housing shortage.

The council has produced an outcomes report following the summit that outlines the outcomes achieved by the event, including the shortlisting and appraisal of housing emergency responses and the collective partnership agreement to act on each response. You can view this at https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/housing/housing-emergency

These outcomes will feed into a Housing Emergency Action Plan that the council will jointly produce with partner agencies to target action where it is needed the most.

Since the summit, the council has delivered several key actions, including:

  • Site investigations of council-owned sites on Tiree and Coll. Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) have confirmed in principle interest in these sites.
  • Preliminary site investigations at Hermitage Primary School Annex, Helensburgh. HubNorth is producing an options appraisal to consider the options for housing delivery including potential specialist accommodation/care in partnership with the HSCP.
  • An options appraisal for Killarow House, Bowmore, Islay, to explore potential housing re-development and/or reuse options of the building and site, and the potential to facilitate further development of land to the rear.
  • An options appraisal for Lorn House, Oban, which is currently unoccupied. This will consider housing re-use and redevelopment options.
  • Progress at Rothesay Academy to demolish the building and create a housing redevelopment, potentially in partnership with Fyne Homes.
  • Continued engagement directly with national house builders to discuss their strategic plans and see what opportunities there are to unlock development.
  • Funding approved to appoint a Housing Emergency Project Officer to help unlock sites.
  • The council continues to work with RSLs to unlock new housing development sites and lever in external funding. In total, it has granted planning consent for 223 houses between June and November of 2023
  • Approved over £700k of funding to repurpose empty homes back into use and start work on key worker housing
  • Approved and adopted the Local Development Plan 2
  • Funding approved for Strategic Development Plans for Oban/North Lorn and Helensburgh and Lomond

You can view the full list of actions on our website.

Council Leader Councillor Robin Currie said:

“Since we declared a Housing Emergency last year, we have focussed considerable activity on exploring new methods and solutions to tackle the housing shortages in Argyll and Bute and to bring renewed focus to delivering business as usual in an accelerated fashion.

“The Housing Summit enabled us to get together with our partners to programme a broad range of activities, both in the short term and long term. We are fully committed to tackling the housing emergency in Argyll and Bute. We know the issues facing our communities and we will continue to work with our partners to target this collective action where it is needed most.”

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