What housing is needed in the Ullapool and Lochbroom area? Ullapool Community Trust wants to hear from you!
Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) is launching a survey to inform what housing is needed now and into the future.
In partnership with the Communities Housing Trust, UCT is currently seeking to identify possible sites for housing in the Ullapool, Lochbroom and Dundonnell areas. The survey results will help shape what housing is provided, led by the needs and aspirations of the community, and will help ensure the area thrives into the future.
UCT is particularly keen to retain younger people, families and those working in the area, and to provide suitable affordable homes for local people.
The survey is for people who currently live in the Ullapool and Lochbroom area, and local businesses, including potential new businesses. There is also a survey for people who have either left the area but would like to return, or non-residents who would be interested in moving to the area.
Tim Gauntlett, chair of UCT, said: “It will be clear to all who live in our area that housing is the most pressing issue facing us at the moment. This was vividly illustrated by the fact that 89% of those responding to our community needs survey last year said that the provision of housing here was unsatisfactory, and 78% ranked it as 1st or 2nd priority for us to address (way ahead of the next priority – employment and training).
“Almost everybody in this community will be aware of children, relations, friends who are either struggling to get any affordable accommodation at all, or who feel that returning here is impossible at the moment – unless they’re willing to stay with parents or on somebody’s couch.
“The recent boom in the tourist industry has been very welcome in many ways, but it has also brought with it distorting incentives to expand short-term lets – at the expense of younger and poorer folk seeking somewhere to live – and the housing shortage means that many businesses can’t grow as they would like because there simply isn’t anywhere for their staff to live.
“Action is clearly urgently needed, and UCT is committed to doing all it can to provide new and better affordable housing.. But first of all we have to make sure that we know where housing is most urgently needed, what kind of housing will help to address these needs and who the people are who would benefit most from new housing.
“Carrying out this survey will, we hope, give us the detailed information and data to help us target our housing action plan accordingly. So we would urge as many members of the community as possible – and those with connections to the area who wish to return – to take the 15 mins to complete the survey and contribute to solving this huge problem.”
The chair of Lochbroom Community Renewables, Rob Gibson, said: "Broompower backs this detailed housing needs survey from Coigach to Little Lochbroom. It must be the catalyst for much-needed building of affordable homes to secure a balanced community here in north-west Ross."
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of the Communities Housing Trust, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Ullapool community to understand what’s needed. We know that demand for quality, affordable housing will be high here, and is required to support the local economy – not just for supporting tourism, but diversifying in order to be more resilient. Enabling new businesses to start up, supporting existing ones to grow, and attracting key skills back to the area are all crucial.
“Community-led development is a key part of the solution in rural areas, and can complement other providers. It can be tailored, providing a mix of tenures, a mix of house sizes, and potentially a mix of amenities. This gives the greatest possible flexibility to residents, while also sustaining local businesses and services.”
The survey can be completed online before Monday 28th March at:
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