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Badenoch MSP says number of solutions to tackle strath's housing crisis

By Gavin Musgrove

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Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes (centre) in discussion at the Old Sawmill housing site at Rothiemurchus after the summit.
Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes (centre) in discussion at the Old Sawmill housing site at Rothiemurchus after the summit.

Badenoch MSP for Kate Forbes has called for more partnership working to help resolve the housing crisis in the strath following a key summit held in Aviemore earlier today.

Around 50 delegates were in attendance at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort for the discussion.

They included representatives from housing organisations, business leaders as well as local residents, and included a keynote address from Shona Robison MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Housing.

The Cairngorm Business Partnership released the results of a recent survey at the summit which showed that two-thirds of businesses in Badenoch and Strathspey indicated that a lack of affordable housing had inhibited their ability to recruit new staff – and almost 60 per cent expected the problem to worsen if no action is taken.

The CBP is also establishing a pilot scheme, working with the Highland Council, Highland Housing Association and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to establish a not for profit business-led organisation that offers rent void guarantees to housing associations with the caveat that properties can be allocated on local employment needs.

Four homes are expected to be available for occupation next summer under the pilot.

Ms Forbes, who gave the closing address at the summit, said: “Housing is undoubtedly a massive concern for businesses and residents of Badenoch and Strathspey, as well as other parts of the Highlands.

“I am delighted that the Housing Minister Shona Robison has been spending time with businesses to seek to resolve this major issue.

“There are tools at our disposal in terms of building and securing more housing but we need to make sure it is the right kind of housing for those who are most in need.

“My view is that we have all the people, resources and ideas in the room today to solve this issue.

"Often blanket approaches don’t resolve the more nuanced local situations in which people and businesses find themselves.

"That’s why it is really important we work together.

“There are a number of solutions – building more housing, re-purposing buildings for housing, shared equity support for first time buyers and many other schemes. The variety of schemes are there to respond to the different needs.”

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