THE largest affordable housing development ever built on the Black Island has officially opened.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economics, and Highland MSP Kate Forbes, was on hand for the ceremony at Avoch’s new Mannsfield Place development.
The site, which includes 46 affordable and mid-range rental units, was delivered by the Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) and the Cairn Housing Association.
And the grand unveiling of the completed site was marked by a special biodiversity-themed day yesterday (Thursday), where residents received butterfly-friendly plants and seeds to take home.
Representatives from the local garden center and cafe, Munro’s Nurseries, also shared top gardening tips with residents as Ms Forbes sowed seeds among the wildflower grass, which has been planted at the site to encourage biodiversity. and pollination.
Partly funded by the Scottish Government, Cairn, HHA and the Inverness City Region Deal as well as private funding, 12 three-bedroom houses were developed by HHA for an average rent, with the remaining 34 allocated to social rent, which be managed by Cairn.
The first phase of the site was recently handed over to the tenants, the second phase having been completed and should be delivered at the end of July.
In addition to creating high quality homes, a series of community improvements have been made throughout the development. This includes the creation of a pedestrian crossing, the relocation of improved recycling facilities, an improved water supply system and a high-quality play area for children in the area.
Gail Matheson, Managing Director of HHA, said: “Despite the difficult environment we have all faced over the past year, we are extremely happy to see Avoch’s development come to an end. It truly is a testament to how intelligent collaboration between parties can create force for good.
“Unsurprisingly, the development has already generated significant interest with all of the homes now occupied, and we are very happy to welcome Ms. Forbes on site to see our efforts culminate.
“HHA has ambitious plans to help bridge the gap in the provision of high quality mid-market rental housing, which is in high demand, over the next five years and we look forward to working with more industry partners. private and public to bring about positive change across the Highlands. “
Don Jamieson, Chairman of the Cairn Board of Directors, said: “There is a clear need for affordable and good quality rental housing and Cairn is delighted to see the completion of this great development in Avoch. Cairn is synonymous with great homes, great service and great people; and we are happy to welcome tenants to their new homes and wish them years of happiness and security as tenants in Cairn.
“Achieving this development has been a real team effort and my thanks go to the staff at Cairn who managed the project and to our partners from HHA, WGC and the Scottish Government. “
Kate Forbes added: “Housing is probably one of the most frequent issues raised with me, showing how important it is, and as the Black Isle Riding MSP I am well aware of the local pressures. If we want families, and especially our young people, to stay in the Highlands, it is absolutely essential that they have access to warm, safe and affordable housing.
“In this context, I am delighted to see the official opening of the new development in Avoch and it was a privilege for me to be on site to meet new residents as well as part of the construction team who made houses a reality.
Inverness-based contractor WGC (Scotland) Ltd built the estate. Its Managing Director, Dougal Murray, said: “WGC (Scotland) is delighted to have been able to negotiate and provide much needed social housing to the community of Black Isle despite difficult operating conditions. We have enjoyed working closely with Cairn and HHA, as well as being members of the extended design team to deliver exceptional new homes for the area.