ACHA Homes saved after community consultation

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Many of Argyll Community Housing Association’s (ACHA) Kintyre tenants will be relieved to hear that 20 homes which were due to be mothballed will instead receive investment.

The association’s chief executive Alastair MacGregor, who held a drop-in session with investment manager David McColl and locality manager Sarah Campbell in Campbeltown’s Guide Hall on Tuesday, claims most of the residents are behind the plans.

Residents were furious to learn at a public meeting in March that the housing association planned to demolish or mothball a number of properties in Campbeltown and Southend due to low occupancy.

At the time many people expressed anger at having to be rehoused, some having lived in their homes for decades.

However, it seems that ACHA, which discussed the community feedback at a board meeting in May, has taken the comments on board, and although 31 properties will still be demolished, ACHA will now invest in the properties at Prince’s Street/Dalintober.

Mr MacGregor said: ‘Due to structural issues with the four properties in Southend, we always planned to demolish those, but following consultation, it was clear that residents were keen for the properties at Dalintober to be retained.

‘We are looking at converting six units into an association office and investing in another 12, reconfiguring their layout to make them more attractive.’

The association’s staff are involved in rehousing tenants and have come to an agreement with three home owners to purchase their houses and are in negotiations with
ACHA is in the process of developing tender documents and, with respect to demolitions, it is anticipated that the contracts will be in place and ready to go in the new year.

Following the demolitions, ACHA will continue to be responsible for the sites on a care and maintenance basis until future opportunities are identified, and will either grass them over or put down type one gravel.

The association hopes the sites can be used for socially beneficial initiatives, including community-led projects.

Mr MacGregor added: ‘We wouldn’t rule out building on the sites if the demand is there for specialist housing. We’ve done things like allotments before and created social enterprise spaces – we wouldn’t rule anything out.’

The incessant rain may have deterred some residents from attending the drop-in session, but the association would like to remind tenants that they can always contact their local office, which will be happy to help them with any further queries.

The phone number for ACHA’s Kintyre office at Old Quay Head is 01546 605880.