The wraps have come off a new housing development at Wista, north of Lerwick – built in a bid to address the “stubbornly high” waiting list for social housing.
Hjaltland Housing Association has trumpeted the £1.9 million, 14-unit scheme. But the project will only go so far to address strong demand. Hjaltland received more than 180 applications for the 14 homes. The association says it has an “active” waiting list of over 600 who are seeking accommodation.
Chairman, Bobby Hunter said Hjaltland had worked with Shetland Islands Council to seek out areas where new housing was most needed.
But he warned demand showed little sign of abating just yet.
“We work closely with the local authority to focus our developments in the priority areas identified in the Local Housing
Strategy but the waiting list, particularly in Lerwick, remains stubbornly high,” he said.
“Despite our continued development of new homes over recent years we received 184 applications for these 14 homes.
“The association continue to work toward meeting the housing needs of those throughout Shetland and have plans to develop a further 123 homes over the next four years.”
Hjaltland chief executive Bryan Leask said the development had been waiting in the wings for a long time.
“We originally bought the land in 2007 but due to the global economic collapse that occurred in 2008, and the subsequent cuts in government funding that followed, it took us a number of years to put together a funding package that allowed the project to proceed,” he said.
“The site itself offered unique challenges but I think the finished project rivals any small housing development. The 14 homes are built around the ‘Home Zone’ principal where the scheme is designed to provide a safe and pleasant place for families to live and where the pedestrian has priority over the car.”
The scheme was designed by local architectural firm Redman + Sutherland Architects and built by E&H Building Contractors Ltd.
The association says it is not resting on its laurels with a further 33 homes in development: 12 one-bedroom flats at Fort Road and 21 one, two and three-bedroom homes at the observatory due for completion over the next 12 months.