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LATEST ISLANDS FORUM DISCUSSES DELIVERING HOUSING FOR ISLAND COMMUNITIES

Dsc02508Representatives from islands across the UK joined the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove to discuss housing last Wednesday (8th May).

The 4th Islands Forum focussed on the housing challenges faced by islands wherever they are in the UK, such as the additional costs of construction and pressures caused by higher numbers of holiday homes and seasonal demand.

Attendees discussed pioneering and dynamic approaches to tackling housing challenges, shared best practices and lessons, and ways effectively to deploy powers and funding, including using expanded council powers to tackle 2nd and vacant homes and working with local development trusts to build new housing units. Participants also agreed on the importance of ensuring UK Government levelling up funding programmes are supporting work to increase housing and regeneration.

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This builds on significant progress from previous forums, including the establishment of a Connectivity Task and Finish Group and a new £1.6 million UK Government project to help improve vital transport links for island communities. £3 million has also been awarded to the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) over 2 years – the world’s first and leading wave and tidal energy testing facility, with a further role in green hydrogen development. Ministers visited its facilities at the inaugural Islands Forum hosted in Orkney in 2022.

The Islands Forum is an important part of UK Government’s programme to level up the whole of the UK. It is now a well-established and effective forum for member councils to meet with UK and devolved governments, to discuss common challenges and share learning.

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The Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove chaired the Forum on behalf of the UK Government and was supported by the Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young.

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The devolved governments were also represented, with Northern Ireland Executive Minister John O’Dowd MLA and Welsh Government Minister Rebecca Evans MS taking part. The Scottish Government was represented by Erica Clarkson, Head of Islands Policy. Virginia Crosbie, MP for Ynys Môn, and Rhun ap Iorwerth, MS for Ynys Môn, also attended.

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They were joined by council leaders and representatives from:

  • Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn / Isle of Anglesey County Council
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar/Western Isles Council
  • Orkney Islands Council
  • Shetland Islands Council
  • Highland Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • Argyll and Bute Council
  • Isle of Wight Council
  • Council of the Isles of Scilly
  • Rathlin Development & Community Association

Attendees also had an opportunity to visit the MSparc Science and Technology Park, to see Anglesey’s innovative work on skills, energy, and housing. Recognising the importance of the Welsh language to the Isle of Anglesey, Levelling Up Secretary of State Michael Gove explored a virtual reality village developed by Animated Technology to practise his Welsh language skills.

The next Islands Forum in Autumn 2024 will be hosted by Argyll and Bute Council.

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Trevor the Caulkhead
Trevor the Caulkhead
1 month ago

More sponsored ballsh*t

gorob
gorob
1 month ago

Don’t build anymore houses here in your “Leveling Up” scenarios unless you can find some Dentists, GPs, Hospital staff and in patient capacity, Police, Fire services and, Social care and Teachers to name just the tip of the iceberg of the problems here.

ISlander
ISlander
Reply to  gorob
1 month ago

The people who need houses are the very people you say we need. They won’t come if there’s nowhere to live.

Ffs
Ffs
1 month ago

I’m just wondering how much all this b.s nonsense is costing us tax payers.

Gottalarf
Gottalarf
1 month ago

The whole country is going down the pan so levelling up would maybe just enable us to keep our head out of the ‘hit for a short time.

Mia pinion
Mia pinion
1 month ago

Another flash in the pan forum that will achieve sweet FA

Simple Simon
Simple Simon
1 month ago

Building homes for our Dinghy friends ?, or persons on benefits!

Kevin Pidwell
Kevin Pidwell
1 month ago

I don’t see the point of this get together. All the different Island representatives have their own Ventnor catastrophise, fire station closures, welfare cut backs, &c and no finances to deal with it either. Coming here on the sponge won’t work and just sitting around a table, drinking coffee and discussing these matters benefits no one exception their own political status egos. Bob Seely clones. But at least we get to see better quality fitted suits than estate agents use I guess.

Stefan C. Attrill
Stefan C. Attrill
1 month ago

Michael Gove – what does he do?

Does anyone remember ‘Pob’?

Tricky Dicky
Tricky Dicky
1 month ago

So, what’s the £1.6 m transport fund being used for?
I very much doubt it’s for the levelling up of ferry prices to and from this Island!

Qwerty King
Qwerty King
1 month ago

More lovely lunches at the public expense and hot air. I’m sure their talk and resolutions will produce zero results. Then they can do it all again in the autumn.

 

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