Poor islands and rural infrastructure ‘holding back house-building’

Kenny MacLeod
Kenny MacLeod

Poor infrastructure on the Scottish islands and rural areas is holding back house-building, according to an Argyll-based developer.

Kenny MacLeod, director of MacLeod Construction Ltd, spoke to the Argyllshire Advertiser about his firm’s experience building homes in Argyll and Oban and on islands such as Islay, Tiree and Jura.

He said: “My company is building 10 houses on the island of Jura. The only public road on the island, from which access will be taken to the site, is single lane.

“The internal road system planned for 10 affordable homes is required to be designed to city standards which is 5.5-metre wide with two-metre pavements.

“If development specifications could be revised, the savings made would fund additional houses within the footprint of a site.”

Mr MacLeod suggested national policies could be changed to encourage house-building on the islands, for instance by allowing small developments to be served by individual septic tanks or bio-discs, or subsidising the provision of water and electricity to remote locations.

He also criticised the cost of impact studies landing on developers, as well as housing standards which “drive costs up dramatically and can make small, rural developments unaffordable”.

“Careful planning of the specification could reduce building costs but still produce warm, highly insulated and comfortable homes”, he said.

Funding for “combined” units which incorporate a home and a workspace could also encourage home workers to relocate to the islands, he suggested.

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