The Scottish Government demonstrated its commitment to the future of Moray today when Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil announced a multimillion pound affordable housing project in Forres.
Jointly funded by the Scottish Government and Grampian Housing Association, the £6.35 million development at Balnageith will provide a total of 53 affordable rented homes, seven of which will be designed specifically for families with sensory and physical disabilities.
Mr Neil said: "This development will provide the Moray region with 53 new affordable homes backed by £3.778 million of funding from the Scottish Government. It will help to provide certainty and stability for the future.
"This is a clear indication of the Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to the region both in terms of housing need and the local economy. The recent defence announcement has brought a great deal of uncertainty to the Moray area and the presence of the RAF bases in the region."
Chairman of Moray Council Communities Committee, Cllr Eric McGillivray, said the area had attracted significant investment in social housing.
"We are currently in the middle of building a large number of council houses throughout Moray, the first for 25 years," he said.
"This development means that even more people, particularly those with specific requirements, will be able to live independently and enjoy a better quality of life."
Neil Clapperton, Acting Chief Executive of Grampian Housing Association said:
"All communities need quality affordable housing and we are delighted with the Scottish Government's further investment in Forres.
"Building on our successful partnership with The Moray Council and Springfield Properties we will be able to provide more homes for rent and in turn contribute to meeting the housing needs of a range of client groups including families and people with disabilities. "
The new homes are being constructed by Moray property development company Springfield. The firm's Partnerships Director Tom Leggeat said:
"Springfield Properties PLC is delighted to have secured Scottish Government funding in partnership with Grampian Housing Association Ltd to proceed with the second phase of housing at the Balnageith Road site in Forres. The funding will help create 53 energy efficient and spacious homes to aid those currently in unsuitable housing within the local area. Looking to the future it is important to maintain or increase historic levels of funding for such projects and to recognise the value of the positive impact that such projects have on the local economy, employment and indeed the health of those to be housed. We are pleased the Scottish Government has focused on Moray in this instance and urge that housing remains the top of the agenda in coming years."
Calum Macpherson of the Moray task force said:
"The investment of Scottish Government money for this affordable housing project is a huge boost for the Moray area - providing affordable rented homes to those in need and also stimulating the local economy during a difficult time. Moray task force welcomes this and will continue to work to identify other ways to assist the Moray area and the uncertainty of the RAF presence here."