Empty Homes Project Officer for Orkney, Rachael Bowes, is setting up a scheme which will encourage people to register their interest in either buying or selling a property to help match up buyers and sellers in a move to address the large number of empty homes in Orkney.
A recent report highlighted that Orkney has the highest percentage of dwellings in Scotland that are vacant at 6.9% and the third highest percentage of dwellings that are second homes at 3.5%.
In 2006 there were 802 homes unoccupied (433 empty and 369 second homes) and in 2016 this had risen to 1151 (759 empty and 392 second homes).
People in the islands are also choosing to live in or around the main towns of Kirkwall, Stromness and Dounby leaving many houses in other parts of the county empty. The new Council scheme is primarily targeting the 759 empty properties on the island to try and bring them back into productive use.
Rachael Bowes can also help empty home owners who register to access discounts for renovating their properties, including VAT discounts on restoration works and discounts on materials from recognised retailers. She will also be working with community groups across the islands to help take forward housing projects.
Rob Crichton,Chair of the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee said:
“Orkney has a high percentage of homes classed as ‘empty’ and there are a number of area related reasons for this. The Council is committed to bringing long-term empty homes back into use to meet housing needs and we’re delighted to welcome Rachael to the team at the Council to lead this.”
Further details on the matchmaking scheme is available at http://www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/H/empty-homes.htm.
You can contact Rachael Bowes at the Council on 01856873535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Story: The Work Begins: Rescuing Orkney’s Empty Homes