The Pairc Trust on South-East Lewis has recently completed a Housing Needs Analysis of the Pairc Estate, which indicates that the local community is very supportive of a small development of affordable housing in the Estate, either to rent or to buy.
The Trust is convinced that additional social and affordable housing in Pairc is key to reversing population decline, encouraging a more balanced age structure, and achieving the community's social and economic goals for the area.
The Trust completed the purchase of the Estate on behalf of the community in December 2015, and has a long term vision to reverse a century of population decline in South Lochs, by providing additional local jobs, affordable housing and improved community facilities to improve the quality of life for all residents.
Angus McDowall, Chair of Pairc Trust, said “We are delighted with the Housing Needs Report and would like to thank everyone who responded to the surveys. It shows there is community support for affordable housing to rent in the Estate. The Trust now aims to bring empty properties back to life and provide affordable housing which is energy efficient, and reduces the prevailing issue of fuel poverty in rural locations of the Western Isles.
A Paric Trust representative said the Trust "is thankful to all members of the community who contributed to the study, and grateful to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for their assistance with analysing the results."
Iain Watson, Housing Services Manager for the Comhairle, said: ‘We are very pleased to be presented with the findings of Pairc Trust’s Housing Needs Report. The information gathered from the Pairc community will be very useful in assisting the Comhairle develop its next Local Housing Strategy. This community’s support for Affordable Housing is very obvious from the Report and we look forward to working with Pairc Trust in the coming years to look at new housing opportunities.’
Jen Ellis, Development Manager of the Trust recently spoke at the Empty Homes Conference in Edinburgh. Kevin Stewart, MSP for Local Government and Housing was the keynote speaker, and he emphasised the importance of bringing empty homes back to life, and the crucial role communities have in taking this forward.
The Trust expressed its gratitude for Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust for the funding, which made the report possible.
The Housing Analysis took place over the summer months and a final report is now available on the Trust’s website: www.pairctrust.co.uk.