We have developed innovative ways to deliver more homes in the National Park to help retain our population and attract inward migration.
The annual housing target of 75 new homes is a crucial part to our strategy to address the projected declining and ageing population. The housing policies in the newly adopted plan seek to deliver housing in innovative ways, taking into account the challenges of delivering new housing in a pressured housing market where demand for second, holiday and retirement homes is high, as well as commuting.
The plan identifies potential for 426 units on allocated sites but also recognises that a high proportion of housing will be delivered through windfall developments on account of the nature of development in the rural area.
The housing approvals and development last year have included a selection of interesting cases on windfall and allocated sites:
- We had our first affordable house in a building group approved with a legal agreement that ensures it is used as a permanent residence (instead of a second home) and is sold at a discount in the future. The house, located at Uig in Cowal, is a 2-bed modestly designed house fitting into the local landscape context to meet the applicant’s specific affordable housing need. The house is now under construction and is hoped to be completed in July 2017.
- Our exception policy that supports housing at the edge of towns and villages was also used this year to support 26 affordable homes at the edge of Balloch. This was a site that we were not aware of at the Main Issues or Proposed Plan stage. The other sites in Balloch have planning approvals known to only be capable of delivering 2 affordable units given other developer contribution requirements. Therefore this site was a great opportunity to help meet the affordable housing needs in the area.
- In one of our Loch Lomondside villages, where the policy previously required new infill housing to be tied by a local occupancy condition, we have approved two homes that have required an affordable housing contribution of £55,000. This is an encouraging and it is hoped that we either deliver more affordable houses on infill sites or receive commuted sums to open up the development on the allocated sites within the same village.
- We have also seen the delivery of 5 affordable homes on an allocated site in Luss that has been funded by the landowner, the housing association, Scottish government and the council. This case study proves the difficulties of bringing forward some of our smaller allocated sites and demonstrates the need for an innovative strategy such as the West Loch Lomondside Rural Development Framework (see page here).
These case examples highlight the diverse nature of the housing applications that the Park Authority deals with and the need to have an innovative policy approach to deliver housing on the ground. It demonstrates the positive action we are undertaking to support sustainable economic growth and sustain the population of the Park.