ARGYLL and Bute Council is to lend £1.9 million to Fyne Homes to help the housing association continue to market its shared-equity properties at The Old Courthouse in Rothesay.
Only one of the 25 homes in the town centre development has been sold since work was completed at the end of March, and Bute councillor and depute provost Len Scoullar had asked the council’s executive to consider giving further financial help to Fyne Homes in the face of the downturn in the area’s housing market.
Thursday’s decision by the executive follows the green light from the Scottish Government, given in September, to widen the marketing of the Old Courthouse properties beyond the original target group of local first-time buyers.
Fyne Homes now has approval to market the properties to first-time buyers based on the mainland, and also to local older people who might be considering a move to a smaller, more manageable home with step-free access.
“I am very grateful to the council leader, fellow councillors and council officers for responding to my plea to help Fyne Homes in this particularly unique situation,” Cllr Scoullar said.
“The downturn in the housing market, combined with the present challenging economic climate, means that these properties have so far proved extremely difficult to sell.
“Fyne Homes have recently contacted the Scottish Government to explore options which could widen the range of prospective purchasers, and in the meantime continue to market the properties extensively.
“To be able to continue that, safe in the knowledge that they have the funding in place, is very good news for Fyne Homes and for Rothesay itself.
“I am delighted to have played a part in this, and am confident that Fyne Homes will be able to sell these homes and continue to go from strength to strength in the future.”
The loan is for a three year period from March 31, 2012, and will be repaid early if the houses are sold before the three year period expires.
The development occupies the site of the former Rothesay Town Council, Rothesay Sheriff Court and police station buildings adjoining the town’s High Street, Castle Street and Watergate.