We need to ensure that when new houses are built, more of them are affordable to people working in the Park, and that the range and size of new houses are better targeted at meeting local needs
It is currently hard for many households that work within the National Park to access housing on the open market. This is primarily because average incomes are relatively low and house prices are high, with evidence showing that median house prices are around six times higher than median household incomes within the Park. This problem occurs across the Park but is particularly acute in certain areas, including Badenoch and Strathspey, and Deeside. Unless addressed, the lack of affordable housing is likely to have significant negative social and economic effects on local communities.
The Cairngorms National Park also experiences unique pressures in relation to second homes. Around 12% of all houses within the Park are second homes; a figure which is significantly higher that the Scottish average of around 1%. In certain areas of the Park, including parts of Badenoch and Strathspey and Deeside, the proportion of second homes exceeds 20%. Whilst second homes can bring significant benefits, they can add to affordability pressures for people working within the Park. High proportions of second homes can also have potential negative impacts on the vitality and vibrancy of communities.
Partners will respond to the unique housing challenges and pressures within the Cairngorms National Park by developing a special approach that is based on:
Reducing the proportion of second homes in new developments by ensuring that new housing development is targeted at meeting local needs as far as possible;
Maximising the proportion of new housing that is affordable in perpetuity;
Identifying sites in the next Local Development Plan where the affordable housing contribution will be more than the normal national maximum of 25% because of acute affordability pressures and the shortage of supply;
Using the next Local Development Plan to manage the nature of new open market housing so it is better targeted towards local needs (eg by seeking a greater mix of house types and sizes, with an emphasis towards smaller homes in new developments);
Applying flexible planning policies to promote majority affordable housing developments and encourage the use of innovative delivery models to maximise the number of affordable homes that are built;
Targeting public sector funding towards the National Park and to sites with the greatest potential for delivering affordable housing;
Supporting communities to deliver community-led housing solutions, including by making the most of powers to buy land and taking a more pro-active role in management where appropriate;
Promoting high standards of sustainable design and energy efficiency in new homes to ensure they are affordable in terms of lifetime running costs.
∗ Data zones are areas with a resident population of around 500 to 1,000 people. The resident population is not necessarily evenly distributed within any data zone. As data zones cover all parts of Scotland, their boundaries extend into sparsely populated and unpopulated areas.