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By: Keith Osborne
A range of developers in Scotland are to spend more than £44 million in an effort to help kickstart the construction and housing industry. Well-known developers such as Persimmon and a number of lesser known housebuilders and housing associations were successful in a second round of bids with the Scottish Government, details of which were announced just last month.

Ministers will add £10 million to the pot known as the Innovation and Investment Fund. The announcement has been a long time coming and attracted outspoken criticism, having already been delayed earlier this year.

As its name suggests, the Fund is attracting more unusual methods of finding investment for housebuilding. Developers and housing associations are working hand-in-hand to help first-time buyers and the less well-off get a foothold on the property ladder with a range of affordable new homes in Scotland.

One such alliance - and one of the successful bidders in the Scottish Government's Innovation Fund - was Highland Housing Alliance (HHA). HHA, which is owned by Highland Council and a group of housing associations and trusts who provide affordable housing in the Highlands, got the go-ahead for seven 'New Energy' properties at Silver Rock Estate in Golspie.

All the homes, in the town's Lundie Drive, qualify for the Scottish Government's New Supply Shared Equity with Developers scheme. Prices start at £130,000 for a two-bedroom semi-detached bungalow while the remaining six properties on the estate are three-bedroom chalet-type homes costing £150,000.

In terms of energy efficiency all the properties - built by Tulloch Homes - boast Scandinavian heat pump technology and Scotframe's SupaWall insulation which aims to regulate indoor temperature.

Highland Housing Alliance Chief Executive Susan Torrance says: "The scheme aims to give local buyers who have been priced out of the housing market a wider choice of affordable new-build homes to buy. This is a great opportunity for buyers to snap up a brand new, cost-effective, energy-efficient home."

As well as providing much-needed affordable homes for buyers and projects for developers, it is hoped the Innovation Fund will also boost employment in the construction industry - Scottish Government ministers have calculated around 3,000 jobs will be created through the Fund and other social housing initiatives.

Jonathan Fair, Chief Executive of home building industry body Homes for Scotland, approved of the funding announcement adding that Scotland was urgently in need of "thousands of new homes."

In all the Fund will result in 537 new homes. Of that total, 38 will be for shared equity, 384 mid-market rent and 115 social rent.


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