There is a large unmet demand for affordable housing in Shetland which must be tackled urgently, according to Hjaltland Housing Association property services manager Bryan Leask.
Speaking on the day the association announced the completion of its latest houses at Quoys in Lerwick, Mr Leask revealed that when the 20 homes were advertised two weeks ago more than 230 applications put their names forward.
The houses form the initial part of the final phase at Quoys. A further 15 houses are due for completion in May next year, which will draw to a close one of the association’s largest and most successful developments.
The 35-unit development, which will cost around £5.2million, with some £3.1million being provided by the Scottish government through the housing association grant, started in May last year and adds to the previous 83 homes which were completed as part of Quoys Phase 1 and 2.
Mr Leask said of the development: “We are absolutely delighted with the standard of design and finish that has been achieved on this first tranche of houses at Grödians. The use of the ‘Home Zone’ principal has resulted in a unique development which is, as far as I am aware, the first of its type in Shetland.”
However, he warned against complacency in the need to develop more affordable houses in Shetland. “While it is fantastic to be able to offer those people on the waiting list and those registered as homeless an opportunity of a new home it is obvious that there is still a large unmet demand that must be tackled. When we advertised these 20 homes two weeks ago, over 230 applicants put their names forward for consideration. With only 15 houses still to be completed there is clearly still a huge level of demand for new affordable homes in Shetland and Lerwick in particular.”
Last week the charity Shelter Scotland warned the council that much more needed to be done to tackle homelessness in the isles, criticisms that head of housing Chris Medley said he accepted.
The Quoys scheme was designed by local architectural firm Richard Gibson Architects and the principal architect, Adrian Wishart, said of the design: “This development has been a delight to work on. The design team, client and contractor have worked closely together to ensure the early hand-over of this part of the development.”
He added: “It is exciting to now have people move into this ‘Home Zone’ based development, designed to provide a safe and pleasant place for families to live and where the pedestrian has priority over the car. To help create a sense of community as well as sheltered spaces, the houses were positioned close to the street and each other. The colours and gavel frontage of the houses make for a lively street-scape, with blue and red colours providing a cheerfulness during the darker winter months, balanced by use of the grey and deep purple. We look forward to seeing the fully completed scheme next year.”
As with the previous phases of the Quoys development the works were carried out on site by E&H Building Contractors Ltd. The design team also included Mott MacDonald (Engineers), John Duguid Partnership (Quantity Surveyors) and Michael Thomson, who provided the CDM Coordination services on site.