Richard Moore wants to see more affordable housing built in rural communities.
The ongoing development in Friockheim should have provided 16 affordable homes but instead, the Council is letting the developer provide funds for housing elsewhere.
Only the immediate neighbours were consulted – no site notice, no press notice – so hardly anybody knew what was happening.
Richard said, “For rural communities to stay alive, they need housing for young families, and for people wishing to downsize.
‘Commuted sums for development elsewhere’ sounds reasonable, but where is ‘Elsewhere’? Not a rural community I suspect.”
“When local people can’t afford to buy or rent houses in their villages, they have to migrate to the towns. Housing should be built where people choose to live.”
I noted an article in the Forfar Dispatch about Angus Council contract for new housing stock last month. I agree with “An Angus Employer” who complained in a letter [4 November] that the contract was not awarded to a local Angus business.
Unfortunately Councils in Scotland are tied to the procurement policies of the SNP government. They have centralised the process and made it extremely difficult for smaller local businesses to be approved to even bid for contracts. The approval process and level of paperwork is beyond local builders and service providers. I have discussed this very issue with builders in Angus before and after this year’s General Election.
That is why I was delighted to be able to support a new procurement policy for the Scottish Lib Dems at their recent Autumn Conference. This calls for a replacement for the SNP’s procurement body, Scotland Excel, in favour of a unified body that will make local and central government contracts accessible for smaller local businesses.
I know that local Councillors are as frustrated about the issue as local businesses and have strived to help them meet the arduous requirements imposed on them by the SNP’s simplistic one-size-fits-all procurement policy.
After next year’s Scottish election, the situation will hopefully change. Let us hope it is not too late for local firms struggling to stay afloat during the recession.
You can read more about the situation by clicking here for an article in The Courier.