Friday 1 March 2024
 4.7°C   SW Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Housing / Building more affordable homes is a challenge and it’s not because of a lack of funding

Housing minister Paul McLennan (third from left) with Hjaltland Housing Association's chief executive Bryan Leask (left), the organisation's chairperson Agnes Tallack, and Hjaltland's head of asset management Paul Leask. Photo: Shetland News

Increasing the speed of building new affordable homes across Shetland will be a difficult task according to the chief executive of Hjaltland Housing Association (HHA).

Bryan Leask was speaking after the association’s new £6.25 million Berryview scheme in Scalloway, built by E&H Building Contractors Ltd, was officially opened by Scottish housing minister Paul McLennan on Tuesday.

The housing association received 280 applications for the 32 units at Berryview, chair of the board of Hjaltland, Agnes Tallack, revealed during a short introduction speech.

Six of the 32 homes are in shared ownership, which is a scheme to help young families to get on the property ladder.

Speaking to Shetland News after the opening, Leask said he had never seen so much funding for affordable housing coming through from the Scottish Government, but building homes takes a lot of time and it is not getting any easier due to a number of reasons.

“For the last five to seven years the level of support from government has been well beyond what I have experienced in the last 23 years I have been doing this job,” he said.

“The level of support from the government is absolutely there; it is about how we as housing provider can rise to the challenge. (…) It is very difficult to build new houses; it’s not an easy thing to do.”

As part of the Bute House coalition agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Government has given a commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 with 10 per cent of these to be built in rural, remote and island communities.

Leask said that just to get planning consent and building warrants, as well as all the required consents from the utilities including getting electricity metres connected was a time-consuming challenge.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“None of these things happen quickly and none are easy to do,” he said.

“It is becoming very, very challenging, time consuming and expensive to build new homes.

“While the government is providing the support (…) we need all the other sectors to get on board. By that I am mean energy providers and people like that, because without everybody working together to achieve what we are trying to achieve, reaching that 110,000 target will be very difficult.”

The chief executive added that the recruitment and retention problems in the local construction sector didn’t help.

“Capacity and the supply chain is key to achieving all that. I would say ten years ago we had four or five contractors capable of doing a job of this size [the Berryview project], now we have probably two or three,” he said.

“It is an aging workforce; we need to encourage more apprentices coming into the construction industry.

“The amount of work that is available in the construction industry to reach the net zero targets will be enormous.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.