Shetland is to receive £600,000 of Scottish government funding towards new social housing, it was announced today.
The money will go some way towards the £10 million needed to build new houses at Lerwick’s Hoofields, Brae and Virkie, but head of housing Chris Medley declared himself disappointed by the relatively small amount of funding forthcoming.
Mr Medley said: “The money is welcome but I remain disappointed by the level of the grant. It is only enough to build six houses and it’s not going to make a big difference.”
The council intends to build 76 houses at Hoofields, 10 at Brae and four at Virkie under its New Build Housing Programme. The money required for these projects (plus progressing other schemes to the pre-tender stage) is £11.6 million, of which £1.25 million has already been approved.
Mr Medley said that ground work at Hoofields had been tendered for, and the contract documents for Brae had been prepared, with the area just waiting for decrofting.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Full Council, which took place before the government funding was announced, it was agreed to go ahead with the housing even if it meant dipping into reserves, to reduce the risk of a worsening housing situation.
Convener Sandy Cluness said: “If we have to use our reserves we have to use them.”
South Mainland councillor Allison Duncan said it was very important for the schemes to go ahead as there are 1,000 on the housing waiting list. Lerwick North councillor Caroline Miller said there is a “fundamental need for affordable housing”.