Housing Projects Invergordon
Housing – Former Victoria Garage Site, High Steet, Invergordon
Timescale: completion in 2016
This site has been empty for many years and has been a blight on the landscape. Several years ago it was purchased by the Church of the Latterday Saints (Mormons) with a wish to build a church on it. Their head office is in the USA. It became clear after a few years of their ownership that they did not want to build on it as they had utilised the closed Clydesdale Bank for this use, as they took it over on a long term rental. The Council approached them via their American office way back in 2013 but they were adamant they did not want to sell. However, as we approach the Community Empowerment legislation set down by Scottish Government, it shows us that we have more power to take over ownership of vacant land. Working with my local colleagues and the Highland Council, we advised them to try again and if the church did not want to sell, we would advise them that we would carry out a legal Compulsory Purchase. We hoped to avoid that as they can take up to a year. Anyway the Church finally agreed to sell so the Council bought this site in 2015. In late 2015 the HC submitted for planning consent to build 20 or so accessible houses to help the elderly and infirm in our society. The design is very modern looking and this will fill a gap in this area and provide more people to the High Street community. The traffic lights at the bottom of Seabank will remain but they will have their position changed slightly to accommodate traffic going into and out of the new development.
Housing – Davidson Farm area
Timescale: 2-5 years completion
Many people have come to me asking why they cannot buy a private house in Invergordon and the only place building them is Alness, ie Pat Munro’s and they have a point. So in 2014 we, the local councillors argued to zone a large piece of land as Housing in Invergordon so that there is the chance for developers to come in and purchase it. This is up at the Davidson Mains farm area and a few of the fields there are now in the Inner Moray Firth Local Plan for development. Of course this doesn’t happen without a developer showing an interest. So recently I met with Pat Munro’s to discuss the possibility of them building some houses there so that locals can stay in Invergordon instead of moving to Alness. It was agreed that there might be a way that this could happen. I then spoke to the Council’s Housing Development department and officers agreed that this was viable. On speaking with Albyn Housing Society and also the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust, both agreed that they would also be interested in looking at building houses on this site. That means we could have a mixed tenure of private, Council, Albyn and HSCT houses and this would be fantastic. Negotiations are currently underway with the landowners in a hope that this is a project that will happen and very quickly. I would like to see agreement reached this year and designs drawn up the planning consent and building commencing next year. It would probably be a phased development similar to Dalmore in Alness, where about 50 houses could be built followed by more each time. I am not sure of the total figure for this site, but it could well be up to 200-300 houses, which I can’t wait to see.