Construction sector invited to share in £180m housing bonanza

Council chiefs are today (Monday) sharing their £180m housing vision with the construction industry – in the hope that collaborative working can deliver for the community.

The Future Housing event began this afternoon at Mareel with the SIC, Hjaltland Housing Association and more than 80 Shetland businesses taking part.

It comes at a critical time for the sector with major developments at the Knab and North Staneyhill starting to take shape alongside significant refurbishment and energy efficiency programmes. 

Development director Neil Grant said new housing was essential for Shetland to thrive and there was a great need to start preparing for the projects to come.

“What we want to do today is share with the construction industry what we know about the developments ahead,” he said.

“There are new builds, refurbishments and energy efficiency plans from the government – and when you put all of that together the value over the next 10 years is somewhere in the region of £180m.

“It would be really good for local businesses to know about that so that they can bid for it and understand what scope they have to take people on.

“I really hope that by sharing info between the council, Hjaltland and the construction industry we can achieve this within Shetland.”

The SIC’s development committee chairman Dennis Leask has been trying to set up a forum with the construction sector since he was elected.

“Since joining the council it’s been abundantly clear to me how important housing is,” he added.

“Every meeting I sit in, every seminar I go to, it’s highlighted as one of the main obstacles in delivering our services and achieving development in Shetland.

“We need to work together to make sure we deliver not just new housing but maintenance and net zero objectives too.”

Mr Leask said the delivery of new housing had fallen behind schedule, nationally and locally, over recent years.

“The bottom line is we need more housing,” he added.

Hjaltland Housing Association chief executive Bryan Leask said: “There’ s a load of work to be done in next 10 yeas and we need to make sure the sector has time to scale up.”

He said the amount of new housing planned for the coming decade was similar to previous periods – but the refurbishment and energy efficiency work to existing homes added an extra dimension.

“The scope of work we are looking at is larger than it has been in he last 10 years, but the majority of that additional scope is on the existing properties,” he said.

Housing manager Anita Jamieson said the energy efficiency and maintenance work was worth as much as £70m alone.

She said: “I think we’ve had an ongoing concern about capacity and some of that is because of the the volume of other work that has been in Shetland recently.

“It’s really important to have an open dialogue with the industry, which is what today is really about – ensuring that we understand their position, they understand where we are coming from and we collectively try and find ways to make things happen and encourage the local delivery of what need to be built.”

Read more in the next edition of The Shetland Times. 


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