Monday, December 09, 2013

425 on the Council house waiting list for Nairn

As the debate continues locally about housing developments and where they should be sited in the future, the latest details of the demand for council housing in Nairn were discussed at the meeting of the Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area committee last week. Liz introduced the item which was centred around a report on council housing, a copy of which which can be found here. She said:

“I know as a Councillor, one of the highest inputs I get from the public at my surgeries is on housing matters – looking for council housing and affordable housing. I think this is the first time there has been so detailed information in the regard to the demand for housing needs. And the figures are really quite frightening when you see them and they warrant substantial action by members to do all we can to get more affordable housing built and developed in our area. There’ a very low number of relets and  it’s just a tenth of demand so I’m sure there are folk out there although they would appreciate some affordable council housing have not even have put their name down on the list yet because of the low turnovers.”

A little into the debate that followed Colin said. “Just in terms of the numbers situation. There’s 425 on the waiting list. That’s the 1st choice for Nairn so, by and large, they will be people from Nairn or working in Nairn or want to live in Nairn, very definitely Nairn. And as you said Liz, that is an underestimate. There are loads that haven’t come onto the list because they know they ‘re never going to reach the top of that list because they are not in particular priority need.”

Things certainly don’t look good for those on the council house waiting list based on what Liz and Colin had to say. This observer was talking to one of the senior usual suspects earlier today who suggested that it was time the council actually built some affordable housing on Sandown. Easy to suggest yes, but Sandown is already zoned for housing isn’t it and there is a sort of a blueprint? The only thing that will be lacking will presumably be the money or a housing association willing to become involved.? 


Graisg said...

@Anon 7.07 - Liz is not a housing developer - presently her land is listed as one of the preferred sites for future zoning by Highland Council and is part of this Inner Moray Firth Consultation process that finishes on Friday I believe.

Given some of the issues involved with all the areas listed potentially for housing it may lead to a public inquiry according to some observers. Then, whatever the outcome of that, any potential developers would have to get planning permissions etc.

The wisdom or otherwise of any of Liz's or any of the three other councillors comments, attitudes or decisions on housing needs or anything else will, at the end of the day, be a matter for us all the next time we go to the ballot boxes to give them our seal of approval or not.

Anonymous said...

Successive Westminster governments have solved social housing shortages by encouraging the private sector to provide a large amount of rented property, witness monies for mortgages for landlords

I bet many if not all the people on the waiting list are currently renting from private landlords, paying much higher rents than they would in social housing

Yet another example where we've allowed the poor in our society to become even poorer and property owning landlords exploiting such people

Housing is a basic human need and yet we choose to allow it to become a profit making scheme rather than offer good, basic, affordable housing.

Scotland needs to change or we're no better than those politicians at Westminster who are happy to see and encourage great divides in our society

We should be demanding that developers build social housing as part of the planning process. Carried out nationwide this would see a great many new homes and private landlords would be in demise

Graisg said...

Developers do have to provide a proportion of "affordable housing" on each new scheme anon - not sure of how much that is - it may vary a bit but a Highland Council document available online states:

"3. In line with Planning Advice Note 74, The Council expect the level of affordable
housing to be a minimum of 25% of the total number of houses proposed. A
higher level of contribution may be expected in areas where high levels of demand
exist and land supply is restricted. These higher levels could be identified through
individual Local Development Plans or site specific Development Briefs."

The full document dated 2008 is here:

You sometimes hear the question "what is affordable housing?" The document gives a definition:

"Affordable housing: Broadly defined as housing of a reasonable quality that is
affordable to people on modest incomes. In some places the market can provide some or
all of the affordable housing that is needed, but in other places it is necessary to make
housing available at a cost below market value to meet an identified need with the support
of subsidy."

This observer has heard the suggestion once or twice in recent years,(in usual suspect and immediate entourage circles) that Nairn should have its own Housing Association to build and rent homes on Common Good land - it would be a big undertaking that's for sure but maybe that is the type of dream we should be trying to achieve - can central or local government ever deliver for us on social housing?

Anonymous said...

The problem is that affordable housing is not. If you're a young working couple both on a minimum wage then it's beyond your financial reach

Ironically there's been cases whereby affordable housing has been bought and then relet

The Right to Buy started by Thatcher put an end to affordable rented housing which is what many people want

The so called affordable housing on new developments are mere tokenisms to make everyone involved feel better. They don't actually house people with little money or real need

Housing developers in Scotland make on average £60,000 per house, Rather than push affordable housing I would ask that they give 20% or so of their houses on any sites with 10 or more houses to the local authority. They would still make a tidy profit and it would ease the issue of lack of social housing

Anonymous said...

Liz is a potential housing developer of some 90 houses. Yes she has to await the findings of the Moray Firth Consultation but she and her family have applied to have this land developed, it wasn't as though the land has been acquired from her by compulsory purchase
And it's her current position as a potential developer that's meant she has and to step down from being involved in some planning applications. This has left her wings very clipped as a Nairn councillor

Graisg said...

@Mr Heseltine - thank you for that very interesting and informative comment but I'm afraid that we cannot publish

house-hunter said...

According to this Gurn report, Colin said, “...There’s 425 on the waiting list. That’s the 1st choice for Nairn so, by and large, they will be people from Nairn or working in Nairn or want to live in Nairn,..."

Well, what a surprise! Folk rather fancy the idea of living in Nairn!

But let's stick to the facts, not have unsubstantiated "by and large" suppositions or assertions.

There is no way under present Council procedures of knowing how many of those on the housing list are already living and working in Nairn. And by law the Council cannot give preference in housing-allocation to those who are already in the town (they have to look at the points score based on "need").

So it is equally possible - indeed likely - that a number of those who have expressed a first choice to live in Nairn currently live somewhere else (or may even be homeless...).

Is that a compelling reason to build lots of affordable housing in Nairn? Gurnshire might find that if that happens then people will cease putting Nairn as their first choice but will start expressing a desire to live in Rosemarkie....or Tain.... or Grantown....or Gairloch.

Affordable housing needs to be delivered - along with other housing - in a balanced and measured way across the whole of the Highland region.

Graisg said...

@ Code Breaker - thanks for that but we have decided not to publish we've had a fair bit of comment in that direction recently and will return to the matter when appropriate.