CDT's Community Land Working Group has been liaising with Perth and Kinross Community Council to address the shortage of affordable housing in Comrie. As a result, a housing needs survey has been conducted to provide information for planning affordable housing developments in the community.
Comrie has been identified as having the same problems as north Perthshire and other areas of the Highlands and Islands in the loss of younger people and families because of a serious shortage of accommodation to rent or purchase at costs they are able to pay. The reduced number of adults of working age is making it increasingly difficult for local shops and other businesses to recruit staff and to a shortfall in home care workers to support older people and others with special needs. The problems are even affecting the number of children in Comrie Primary School, which now has three combined classes for children of primary one to four age.
Through Perth & Kinross Council, links were made with the Inverness-based Communities Housing Trust, which was already working in five other areas of Perthshire and has a lot of experience in gathering local views and producing reports on locally available accommodation.
As a result, the housing needs assessment was carried out. This will form the basis for development funding to plan property renovations and improvements, adaptations, conversions, new builds, and empty buildings brought back into use to increase the availability of housing.
The survey work aimed to get views from three groups: people living in Comrie households; local businesses; and people who are working in Comrie but unable to find accommodation in the village or who want to return or come to live and work in the area. There was a great response:
Residents – 320
Non Residents – 124
Businesses – 29
There are a few people who should be thanked for getting this to where it is, taking the time to do the branding, posters, and designing the flyers which we had printed, and pushing on the business responses (10 days ago we had only 10 business responses!). There are numerous others in the community who have gone out of their way to make this happen and promote the survey as much as possible through their personal and business social media and contacts. There was some great coverage in the local (and less local – Courier) press so thanks should go to those who have pushed that.
The survey report will set out details of current accommodation and how it is occupied, along with information about the number and circumstances of people needing accommodation but unable to find it in Comrie. The report will also provide affordable proposals for owner occupation, private-sector rentals, and social housing in Comrie.