Our Island, Our Future

Housing Needs on Tiree

Is there is an unmet need for housing on Tiree?  Are the houses we have fit for purpose?

To help answer these questions and gather evidence of any housing issues , Tiree Community Development Trust is inviting all island residents to take part in a housing needs survey.

The availability of suitable housing is considered to be a factor that affects the stability of rural communities, as well as the availability of job opportunities and quality of education facilities.  In recognition of this Tiree Community Development Trust will be undertaking a housing needs survey to study what is happening on Tiree and whether the current housing stock needs to be improved or added to in order to help sustain and grow the island’s population.

We need your help to find answers to the following questions:

 Does Tiree have a housing need, and if so what is that need?

As you may be aware, the resident population of Tiree has fallen by 15% in the 10 years between the 2001 and 2011 census.  In relation to housing, this raises two questions:

  • Does the current housing stock meet the needs of this changing population?
  • Could the current housing stock be creating a barrier to people living here?

 

Population divided into age categories (figures in %) 0-14 15-24 25-44 45-64 65+
Tiree 2001 17.2 8.8 21.4 25.7 27.0
2011 13.9 10.1 18.1 33.1 24.8
% Change -19% +15% -15% +29% -8%
Argyll and the Islands 2001 17.4 9.0 24.9 28.3 20.4
2011 14.6 9.9 20.6 31.1 23.8
% Change -16% +10% -17% +9% +16%
Scotland 2001 17.9 12.5 29.2 24.5 15.9
2011 16.1 13.1 26.5 27.5 16.8
% Change -10% +5% -9% +12% +6%

Source: Census 2001 and 2011

The above table shows how numbers in different age groups on Tiree have changed and how this compares with regional and national trends.  Despite a significant decline in the number of children of school age and 25-44 year olds on Tiree,  you will notice that there has also been a sharp rise in residents around retirement age and people in their late teens/early twenties.

Do all of Tiree’s residents live in houses that meet their needs for the coming years?

In the survey we will be asking questions about whether your home is suitable for the needs of everyone living there.  It may be that your family is growing and you need more space; a member of your family may have reduced mobility and cannot access part of the house, or perhaps your house is becoming too expensive to heat.  We want to know what the hidden problems might be so that we can look at ways of improving homes on Tiree with assistance from other stakeholders.

Are houses on Tiree affordable to residents and people who want to move here?

  • The average sale price of a house on Tiree in the last five years has been around £164,000 (Zoopla).
  • The average full-time wage for someone working in Argyll and Bute is approximately £25,400 which is less than a sixth of the cost of the average cost of a home on Tiree.
  • Statistics published by the Registers of Scotland last month indicate that on average Scotland’s house prices have risen between 2013 and 2014, with prices in Argyll and Bute rising by 3.2% in the same period.
  • At the same time we know that the number of holiday homes have risen by 16% between 2001 and 2011.

Has it become difficult for Tiree residents to afford to buy or rent a home?

The council do not seem to think the availability of affordable housing is currently a problem because they have not received many requests to join the housing association waiting lists through the Home Argyll website.  We are eager to find out if availability of affordable housing (whether rented or bought) is really an issue for the community.

Could a few changes to your existing home make it a more suitable place to live?

In the survey we will also be asking you about the condition of your home and whether some essential improvements to the existing building could make it a more habitable place to live.  Tiree has a fantastic array of distinctive traditional buildings which add to the island’s character and identity as a place to live. However, these traditional buildings can be expensive to maintain and heat, especially with rising fuel and electricity bills.  In June it was estimated by Argyll and Bute Council that there were approximately 27 homes lying empty on Tiree. We are eager to find out what could be done to make the buildings we have on the island more habitable rather than simply considering building new properties as solutions to any problems there might be.

We need your help- please get involved!

Following the launch a survey officer, employed by the Trust, will be visiting every household on the island to deliver surveys, answer any queries, and provide assistance with filling out the surveys.  Completed surveys will be sealed in anonymous envelopes and can either be given to the survey officer or deposited at one of several collection boxes at various locations on the island.

The deadline for returning completed surveys will be Sunday 21st December, and we hope to publish results from the surveys by around February 2015.

If you have any queries about the housing survey, or know anyone who would like to move to Tiree please contact Lynne Cox via lynne.cox@tireetrust.org.uk or by calling 01879 220 074.