The Design & Build project, funded by Lochaber Housing Association and the Scottish Government, involves the construction of 23 houses around Fort William’s Riverside Park area. Eighteen of these houses will provide affordable rented accommodation, whilst the remaining five houses will be shared equity.
The residential properties have been built to increase the affordable accommodation in the area, joining approximately 90 houses that have already been built on adjoining sites. The Riverside Park area itself has been in development since the mid 1990s and the Lochyside site was intended to be part of an additional 33 sites planned for the open market. However, in light of the current economic climate, it is likely that a number of these sites will remain in the pipeline for now.
Whilst the two and three-bedroom properties are predominately two-storey houses, two of the properties are bungalows. All of the homes have been built to provide optimum access and the majority have immediate parking to the front of the buildings.
Planning permission for the site was granted in 2009 and work began in December 2010, however the project hit an early stumbling block when the ground was deemed unsuitable to begin the initial work. Although main contractor R E Campbell Joinery Ltd had to remove a large amount of peat from the site at a substantial cost, some reclaimed peat matter was retained onsite for use in the landscaping work.
R E Campbell Joinery Ltd Managing Director, Roddy Campbell, said:
“Nevertheless, once we got the initial difficulties on the site out of the way it was the only major problem that we encountered and we were able to move forward very quickly.”
The timber frame houses feature brick cladding, concrete blocks, and roughcast and facing brick panels. The exterior comprises tiled roofs, timber windows and timber cladding. In order to create a bold statement, the porches were specifically painted in contrasting colours.
Roddy said: “When deciding on the visual look of the site, we went for a completely different colour scheme than what was being used in the area.
“We used black tiles with a red ridge and went for slightly different shades of colours on the wood stain and porch linings.
“This was to create a unique look to the houses and I’m pleased to say that early indications have been positive about our choice of colours.”
At the time of publication, the previously Greenfield site at Lochyside remains untitled – however, names are currently under discussion.
R E Campbell Joinery Ltd has worked on a number of projects similar to Lochyside and is always keen to look towards the next development.
Roddy said: “We are happy to be involved with Lochaber Housing Association on this development and recognise the importance a project like this has on the local area.
“There are always housing shortages and so the work we are doing at Lochyside will be beneficial to everyone.”
Construction of the houses is now complete and only the groundworks remain. This phase of the project will include kerbing, pathways and planting shrubs and trees.
It was hoped that the project would be completed ahead of schedule, but a year of bad weather has caused delays. The project now remains on programme for completion in March 2012.