Highlands & Islands

Rent rise to help pay for new Highland Council homes

House keys
Image caption A council committee has agreed in principle to build 750 homes

A 67p increase in rent of local authority housing will be needed to help pay for the building of new homes, Highland Council has said.

The rise would be over and above increases required to fund ongoing council house upgrades.

Highland's housing and social work committee has agreed in principle to build 750 new properties over the next five years.

The local authority hopes to secure funding for 101 homes in 2011/12.

Highland Council will submit a bid to the Scottish government's Innovation and Investment Fund to help cover the cost of the programme.

A further 650 properties could be built over the following four years.

Committee chairwoman Margaret Davidson said government funding would help to significantly increase the number council houses in the Highlands.

She said: "These houses are badly needed in the Highlands to meet a huge demand for affordable housing and we believe the proposed programme is affordable.

"This will sustain our communities and support the local construction industry."

The maximum government grant available for each house is £30,000.

Ms Davidson said the 67p rent rise was needed to help fund the first phase of the building programme.

The 101-property project would see a further 47 built in Inverness, 12 in Dingwall, 10 in Kingussie, eight in Gairloch, six in Muir of Ord, six in Conon Bridge, six in Dornie and six in Ardgour.

The local authority is currently building 28 homes in Inverness, 23 in Invergordon, 12 in Caol, 10 in Conon Bridge, nine in Tain, eight in Strathpeffer, eight in Nairn, six in Portree and three in Fort William.

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