The start of work on the massive homes project on land from the former Goathill Farm on Perceval Road, Stornoway, was marked this afternoon (Thursday July 18th) with a large official event.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said it was delighted to welcome Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to formally mark the commencement of the Goathill Farm Care and Housing Development, with a turf-cutting ceremony on the site, where preparatory work is already well under way.

The £46m development will consist of a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units, and 74 houses (58 for rent and 16 for purchase through a shared-equity scheme) and is due to be completed by autumn 2022.

A host of representatives were gathered for the event from CnES, Hebridean Housing Partnership, the Western Isles Joint Integration Board, the Scottish Government and contractors including Stornoway-based O'Mac Construction and McLaughlin & Harvey.

The rain held off for most of the event. Mr Stewart said: “I am delighted to mark the official start of this transformational development, supported by over £15 million of Scottish Government funding. This project has been realised thanks to close partnership working with the Integration Joint Board, Hebridean Housing Partnership and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

“Our affordable housing supply programme has over 240 new homes, across the Outer Hebrides, either on site or starting this year, to be delivered by 2021. These developments keep us on track to deliver our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by record investment of £3 billion.”

Comhairle Convenor, Councillor Norman A Macdonald, said: “Thanks to the commitment and hard work of all the partner agencies involved in this project, we are now at a stage where we can celebrate the cutting of the first turf.  This marks the start of a process that will provide modern, state of the art facilities to support our older generation, along with new family homes to nurture our younger generation.  With a contribution of almost £16m from the Comhairle’s capital programme, this is a major investment.”

He added that the whole development will create an attractive living and working environment, and whave a fantastic outlook on to Broad Bay, at least on a good day!

Councillor Kenny John Macleod, Chairman of the Western Isles Integration Joint Board and the Comhairle’s Communities and Housing Committee, stated: “It will combine residential care and extra-care housing for 102 people, providing them with tailored support to meet their needs. Recognising that our population is ageing, the new venture represents a substantial investment in the care of older people into the future.” 

HHP’s Chairman, Norman M MacLeod talked of the range of facilities which would be available on the site for people young and old, and nearby, including the primary school and the hospital.