Fear over cash incentive plan for Bute homes

Argyll Community Housing Association says it may be prepared to offer cash incentives in some cases to attract new tenants to its empty properties on Bute.
Argyll Community Housing Association says it may be prepared to offer cash incentives in some cases to attract new tenants to its empty properties on Bute.

Community councillors on Bute have voiced their fears over a plan to offer cash incentives to fill up empty rented homes on the island.

Alarm was expressed at Bute Community Council’s October meeting at a proposal by Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA), reported by The Buteman last month, to offer up to £700 as a cash incentive to some new tenants in the hope of filling up some of its empty properties on the island.

One BCC member, Henry Tait, said: “You don’t know who you’re going to get. We have enough trouble on Bute without bringing the dregs from somewhere else, and I worry that’s what is going to happen.

“I’ve been living on the island all my life and I’ve only recently started locking my door.”

BCC chair Grace Strong added: “The number of empty dwellings on Bute is mind-boggling, but are we contributing to our own problems with drugs, alcohol and so on by doing this? Are ACHA going to fill these empty properties up with anyone who applies?”

Community councillor Kevin Bye, however, responded: “Some people do deserve a chance. It could be the break in their lives they need.

“People move here because the support on the island is superb. I see people all the time who get no support on the mainland.”

Peter Wallace, meanwhile, pointed out that the £700 was not a cash-in-hand up-front offer but was to be paid in instalments over 14 months.

ACHA’s chief executive Alastair MacGregor told a meeting of Bute and Cowal councillors in August that of exactly one hundred properties across Argyll and Bute which the association cannot let due to low demand, 40 were located on Bute.