Arran Development Trust Questionnaire Results
Arran Development Trust Questionnaire Results - 8th November 2022
97% of residents on Arran, who completed a recent survey, agreed the Island needs more affordable housing. 96% felt the lack of affordable housing threatens the community and economy of Arran. This is no surprise, every Arran priority survey and professional research since 2008 has identified the lack of affordable housing as the biggest constraint on economic development and the primary cause of young and working age migration.
Opinion was also sought on what could be done to improve the situation. 90% of the participants agreed the island needs an Arran Affordable Housing Fund, funded by income from Second and Empty homes, and used to alleviate Arran’s chronic housing shortage. 25% of Arran’s Housing stock are Second Homes, the largest proportion in Scotland. The fund, administered by the Local Authority, would be used to cover the extra cost of building on the Island and potentially, provide some rent subsidy for key workers.
A significant majority is in favour of increases in Council Tax on Second Homes (88%) and Long-Term Empty houses (78%). Second Homes were not seen as the major problem but as a means of helping to fund more affordable homes.
The local authority, North Ayrshire Council have recently completed 34 social houses in Brodick. These are the first Local Authority houses on Arran in a generation. The Community appreciate them, allowing families to stay on the Island and provide hope for the families still desperately seeking accommodation.
The fact is Arran needs a lot more affordable housing, with the survey suggesting 197. To this end, the Arran Development Trust will obtain funds from the Scottish Government Regional Island Housing Fund and match them with private funding, to create 18 affordable homes and 25 serviced plots for self-build, over the next two years. It is still not enough.
There were several other suggestions made by Islanders that the Arran Development Trust will continue to discuss with the Local Authority. The biggest task will be to agree the affordable housing demand with the Local Authority and then finding a way to build the homes.
Of many comments to the survey, this one best articulates the feeling of the respondents: “Teachers, nurses, doctors, care staff cannot find permanent places to live, be it renting or buying. Bus drivers, supermarket staff, hotel and catering staff have no hope of buying, and rentals are like hen’s teeth. One recent case saw a new member of staff at Montrose House Care Home asked for somewhere to pitch the trailer tent she was living in. How can this be normal?”
The Arran Development Trust and the Arran Community does not accept that this is “normal” and will continue to work with local and central Government to find short- and longer-term solutions.
The Arran Development Trust is a community membership organisation of 400 + members representing approximately 10% of the Arran population. It is a company limited by guarantee, a registered charity and a registered Rural Housing Body.