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Community / Completion of Sandwick housing a ‘real victory’ amid challenge of Brexit and Covid

Photo: Hjaltland Housing Association

WORK on a new housing scheme in Sandwick has been completed – with the knock-on effects of Brexit and the Covid pandemic cited as two major challenges developers faced during construction.

The Houlland Lea development, from Hjaltland Housing Association, had secured £1.8 million in funding from the Scottish Government.

The 12-home scheme was designed by PJP Architects and Mott MacDonald Engineers, with quantity surveying services provided by John Duguid Partnership. The construction was completed by building contractor David Smith.

The project consists of three and four person properties which are all accessed from a central shared surface area which prioritises pedestrians.

All properties have air source heat pumps, underfloor heating, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and fibre to the premises for superfast broadband.

Hjaltland Housing Association chief executive Bryan Leask said: “The association has been working extremely hard since the beginning of the Covid pandemic to keep its development programme going and I am delighted we are now in a position to start handing out keys for these twelve family homes in Sandwick.”

The association’s head of investment Paul Leask said getting the project completed “feels like a real victory”.

“It cannot be overstated the significant impact both Brexit and the Covid pandemic have had on the contract with delays in material delivery, labour restrictions and high material costs to name but a few of the challenges the team had to overcome,” he said.

Head of housing and customer service Ian Bray also said property of this type “not only helps to alleviate significant housing need, but also tackles broader issues within our communities, such as fuel poverty and child poverty”.

He said Hjaltland has been “inundated” with expressions of interest for these properties following their recent advertisement. All provisional offers have now been made.

Ian Irvine from PJP Architects said the design aimed to both serve the new homes and encourage pedestrian links to existing nearby properties.

“This was done by providing a shared surface area through the site, with the main space in the heart of the development accessed from Houlland Road,” he said.

“This space is for children to play and people to meet, and is designed to slow down traffic.”

David Smith said the homes, along with the well-designed shared surface areas, “mean it should prove to be a great area to live in”.

Meanwhile Hjaltland Housing Association recently held its 45th AGM.

During the last year staff continued the development projects with the completion of the 27 new flats at King Harald Street, along with the start onsite of the association’s Upper Scalloway and Gulberwick developments.