Strategic Housing Investment Plan approved
8th November 2018
The Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Thursday 8 November 2018) have approved the Council's Strategic Housing Investment Plan for 2019-2024 that will see a minimum of 500 units being built each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
The Plan sets out how investment in affordable housing will be directed up until 2024 with 2500 new homes built by 2020 and another 500 per year after that. Money will come from a mix of City-Region Deal cash, prudential borrowing and grants from the Scottish Government as part of its pledge to build at least 50,000 affordable homes between 2018 and 2023.
Since the Council House Build programme began in 2008/09 in Highland over 1,000 council houses and flats have been completed or are under development.
Chair of the Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: "Housing is crucial to the growth of Highland's economy and the sustainability of our communities.
"This investment is helping to support jobs in the building industry, but it is also providing people and families with access to good quality, affordable homes where they can be safe and warm.
“Housing is and will remain a top priority for the Council. In our Programme “Local Voices/Highland Choices" we give the commitment to doing all we can. The target we have set is a very ambitious goal but I am confident that over the next five years we will succeed thanks to the effective and productive partnership approach we have developed with the Scottish Government, Housing Associations and the private sector."
He added: “In our wider enabling role, we will continue to work to bringing forward sites we own for re-development and work with the private sector to unlock the constraints for other strategic sites throughout the Highlands, using or own Landbank Fund, the Scottish Government Infrastructure Loan Fund and any other opportunities that become available.”
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
Members have agreed six priority commitments in a revised Council Programme at today's council meeting. The six themes within the Programme are: A Council that Champions the Highlands; A Place to Live; A place to Thrive; A place to Prosper; A Welcoming Place; and Your Highland Council These themes and the actions which the council has agreed to, reflect priorities which have emerged through the round of public engagement during November.
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