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New homes bring boost to village community

30 November 2015
Mr Salmond with the Summers family

A housing project which brought 12 families to an Aberdeenshire village has been praised by residents new and old.

Thrilled tenants are delighted with the dozen affordable properties in School Park, Strichen.

Sanctuary Scotland worked with Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government to create the village’s first new homes for rent in years.

Established residents are equally enthusiastic about the positive impact the social housing project has had on Strichen.

Susan Summers moved from a flat in Fraserburgh to a three-bedroom house. The sheltered housing warden lives with husband Graeme, 45, daughter Lucy, 19, and son Ben, 10.

Susan, 44, said: “The house is brilliant and we’ve settled in really well.

“The village is lovely and quiet but very friendly – everyone waves and says ‘hello’ when you pass them.

“We really like Strichen and are happy to call it ‘home’.”

The £1.9 million School Park project is in the heart of Strichen, next to the village school. The ten houses and two flats are available for social rent, increasing the availability of affordable homes in Aberdeenshire. A Scottish Government grant of £800,000 and Aberdeenshire Council grant of £145,000 made the project possible. The homes are managed by housing provider Tenants First, a member of Sanctuary Group.

Gordon Laurie, Director – Sanctuary in Scotland, said: “We are proud of School Park, the first of many new Sanctuary homes in the North East.

“This development again shows the positive impact attractive, quality, affordable housing can have.

“The reaction of tenants is obviously most important, and this has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We look forward to building more affordable homes in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government.”

A buffet lunch held by Sanctuary formally welcomed the 12 new families to Strichen. Housing staff joined representatives from Aberdeenshire Council, the Scottish Government and the local community.

Local MSP Alex Salmond has lived in Strichen for 28 years.

Mr Salmond said: “It is great to see young families come to Strichen. The village has a powerful sense of community identity.

“In terms of the future, there is nothing more important than having affordable accommodation for families. This ensures that our school and local facilities remain vibrant and growing.”

Councillor Anne Allan, Chair of Housing and Social Work at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The lack of affordable housing creates real challenges for people and businesses in Aberdeenshire and it is not an issue Aberdeenshire Council can tackle on its own.

“That is why we are once again working with Sanctuary Scotland to provide much-needed social housing, this time in Strichen. Providing a range of affordable housing options is a priority for Aberdeenshire Council in order to recruit and retain key workers in the area."