Over £15m of Capital Investment to Improve Highland Housing Stock

Members of The Highland Council’s Housing and Property Committee have agreed a one-year capital investment plan of £15.667 million to be spent improving existing housing stock – £1 million of which will be specifically to fund aids and adaptations for disabled tenants.

The money will be allocated on an area-by-area basis with local members making decisions on projects to be carried out during 2021-2022.

The programme focuses on priority projects identified by local maintenance teams through previous inspections, along with analysis of the existing local housing stock and includes measures to improve heating and energy efficiency.

Each one-year area programme will be presented to local Members for their final approval in the coming months.

The distribution of funding to each area follows criteria set by the council based on the amount and condition of existing housing stock and includes money ring fenced for aids and adaptations.

Caithness – £2.253m

Sutherland – £1.052m

Easter Ross – £2.216m

Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh – £551,000

Black Isle, Dingwall and Seaforth – £1.380m

Isle of Skye and Raasay – £548,000

Inverness – £4.786m

Nairnshire – £789,000

Lochaber – £1,490,000

Badenoch and Strathspey – £602,000

Chair of the Committee, Cllr Ben Thompson said:

“It had been our intention to bring forward proposals for a new 5-year capital plan to take us up to 2026 but in view of the Covid-19 emergency, the 1-year plan agreed today means members and housing staff can have more time to work on a longer-term plan to run from 2022-2027.

“By deferring the five year plan we are giving ourselves extra time to analyse the impacts of Covid-19 and for more member discussions to take place around the details.

“In the meantime, I am sure local members will want to put forward priority projects and make sure their allocation of money is invested where it is needed most.”

All capital housing projects scheduled for this year were suspended in March.

Cllr Thompson is pleased that work has now resumed.

He said:

“As soon as we got the go-ahead from the Scottish Government, our current schedule of works for this year restarted in July but there is slippage to the programme due to the pandemic.

“We are currently focussing on external works and completing outstanding projects rather than initiating new works.

“Our Housing team are working closely with contractors to ensure all heightened health and safety measures are in place to protect our staff, contractors and tenants.

“All tenants affected by this delay have been notified and I thank everyone for their understanding.”

A comprehensive report will be submitted to the September Committee detailing expenditure to date and estimated out-turns for 2020-21.