Pioneering New House Building Model To Be Considered
Highland Councillors are being asked to consider investigating the feasibility of a pioneering new model of providing much-needed affordable homes in the Highlands.
It could see a new build programme of 650 houses over a five year period.
The idea is for the Council to work with a private sector partner to release the equity currently tied up in its Council houses. As houses become vacant they would transfer to the private sector partner in return for a capital payment. The capital would be used to build new houses for let as Council tenancies.
A key point to note is that the Council would continue to allocate, manage and maintain the stock, based on agreed fees per unit to be paid to the council by the partner.
The transferred houses would be relet to applicants on the Highland Housing Register at rent levels pitched between the average council rent and private rents, currently estimated at £75 per week (charged over 52 weeks). The average council rent for the current financial year is £59.76 (over 52 weeks).
Properties would revert to Council ownership at nil cost after 25 years.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Council's Housing and Social Work Committee, said: "This is an interesting proposition that has come forward from our Housing and Property management team, which allows the Council to release equity on the asset value of council housing becoming vacant to relet to generate funds for new council house building. We estimate this could number 650 over a five year period, The number could be significantly increased if the Scottish Government continues to provide subsidy for Council house building.
"The Housing and Social Work Committee will be asked to agree to undertake and fund a full feasibility assessment on the equity release model as a means to deliver additional affordable housing in the Highlands. We would work closely with the Scottish Government in developing the model.
"We would then come back to the Committee with a detailed business case."
She stressed that addressing the shortage of affordable housing in the Highlands is one of the Council's key priorities.
She added: "Strengthening the Highlands" has a target of 2,000 new affordable homes by 2011. We are on target to meet this commitment, but have identified ongoing high levels of demand for additional housing for rent beyond 2011. Successive Local Housing Strategies have identified the need for additional housing supply as the main strategic issue in relation to housing."
The Caithness District Partnership next meets in Wick on Friday 31 October 2014 and the agenda will feature an update on the progress made in the implementation of a Family Team for Caithness. The meeting will also feature updates from Bob Silverwood, the NHS Area for Caithness and Sutherland the Manager.of Scottish Ambulance Service will also deliver a presentation on Public Access Defibrillators.
The Leadership of Highland Council has turned up the heat on OFGEM and called for action against unfair surcharges which make electricity costs higher for consumers in the Highlands and Islands. The Highland Council Administration is responding in support of action being taken by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and will be writing to OFGEM to call for fairer energy charges in the Highlands and Islands.
If either of the statements, â€˜I wish I'd been told about that before I bought my carâ€™ or â€˜the car salesman failed to tell me about this...â€™ sounds familiar - then read on. The Highland Councilâ€™s Trading Standards team is today launching an online Used Car Buying Survey in conjunction with Trading Standards authorities across the North of Scotland.
Council renews call for permanent reinstatement of ETVs. Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry has renewed The Highland Council's call to permanently retain and reinstate previous levels of emergency towing vehicles (ETVs) covering the Minch and Northern Isles.
Members of The Highland Council's Licensing Board were (October 7, 2014) informed that 811 Personal Licence holders have still to notify the Board that they have completed their refresher training. Personal Licence holders had until the 31 August to sit their training.
A poster campaign to highlight the risks of buying cigarettes for children has been launched by the Trading Standards services in Highland and Argyll and Bute Councils, in partnership with NHS Highland. The campaign aims to increase awareness that it is unlawful for adults aged 18 or over, to knowingly buy or attempt to buy cigarettes, tobacco or cigarette papers for a person who is under the age of 18, this is known as a "proxy purchase".
The Highland Council recycling rate has reached 45% pushing it up to number 11 in the rankings of the 32 Scottish Local Authorities according to new figures released by SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) for 2013. Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Council's Community Services Committee, said: "These latest figures are great news and testament to the commitment of Highland residents to recycling.
Following recent high winds last night and this morning (5 - 6 October 2014) The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged. Roads affected by fallen trees include the B862, U1667 and the C1068 and the Council's Community Services staff are continuing to clear debris.
Following an inspection of the C1154 Dulsie Bridge crossing the River Findhorn, The Highland Council has imposed an emergency temporary 7.5 tonne weight restriction on the bridge. The restriction was made on 29 September 2014 on the C1154 Cawdor - Clunas - Dulsie - Aitnoch Road at Dulsie Bridge.
Three brothers from Inverness were jailed for a total of five-and-a-half years at Dingwall Sheriff Court on Thursday 2 October 2014 for doorstep crime offences, defrauding people in their own homes. James Johnstone (42) pled guilty to charges of extortion, fraud and theft.
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