SHETLAND Islands Council is still hopeful it can deliver nearly 400 new homes over the next five years despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, Brexit, inflation and the availability of contractors and building materials.
Housing manager Anita Jamieson told members of the development committee on Monday that, in seeking £26 million of Scottish Government funding, the local authority would keep a “very close eye” on those challenges.
She is hopeful that, as the world emerges from the disruption caused by the pandemic, it may even be possible for new projects to be brought to the table alongside the existing two “masterplan” areas in Lerwick at Lower Staney Hill and the former Anderson High School site at the Knab.
Members approved Jamieson’s latest strategic housing investment plan (SHIP) from 2022-2027 after hearing that annual reviews would allow for revisions “to reflect the ongoing impacts of Covid and Brexit which are not fully known at this time”.
Her report stressed that successfully delivering the plan would be “subject to a number of caveats around contractor capacity and availability, materials and supply chain issues and development costs”.
“There is scope for new projects to be brought forward in future years,” the report stated.
“The advantage of having two master-planned projects in Lerwick is that these are projected to meet the arising need over the period of construction and can be phased accordingly.”
Asked by Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall if the correct balance had been struck in terms of providing new homes in Lerwick and in more remote areas of the islands, Jamieson said that in previous years the majority had been “smaller rural projects” and there is still scope for new schemes that “might be encouraging other types of housing to be built”.
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