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Homes For Scotland Annual Lunch & Awards

Homes For Scotland Annual Lunch & Awards

The Homes for Scotland Annual Lunch & Awards, an event we proudly sponsored for the third consecutive year, took place last Friday 20 May at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

It is an event which grows both in size and stature year on year and Friday’s event was no exception.  Over 1,000 delegates from across the industry came together to take stock of the current climate within the industry, recognise achievements over the last year, look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead, and most importantly of all spend time in the company of existing colleagues and make new connections.

New Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland, Nicola Barclay, provided a glowing report on attitudes within the industry following her first 100 days in post, adopting a “three Ps” description of the sector: Passionate, Proud, Professional.

Many of the themes touched on by my colleague Scott Peterkin in his blog last week came through at the event. 

On Homes for Scotland’s part, the key areas for focus over the next period will be to ensure momentum is maintained on the independent panel review of the planning system in Scotland, involvement of the industry in the further development of the land tax model, addressing the skills shortage within the industry and the revival of the cross-party working group on housing at the Scottish Parliament. 

In a video address to delegates, Deputy First Minister John Swinney re-affirmed that housing is a key priority of the newly elected Scottish Government.  While highlighting progress which has been made in recent times, Mr Swinney confirmed that housing supply was not yet at satisfactory levels, that accelerated supply is key and re-affirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver 50,000 new affordable homes over the life of the current Scottish Parliament.  That commitment will be underpinned by a range of tools including the Help to Buy Affordable New Build Scheme, the Scottish Government’s £50,000,000 Infrastructure Fund and the much awaited reform of the planning system. 

The re-election of the Scottish Government sees a changing of the guard in relation to housing matters with Angela Constance taking the role as Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social security and Equalities and Kevin Stewart being appointed as Minister for Local Government and Housing.  They will have plenty on their plate in driving forward the Scottish Government’s ambitious target. 

The Annual Lunch provides a welcome opportunity to acknowledge achievements in the industry over the last year.  This year saw a raising of the bar in the awards process including the introduction of on-site interviews.  Congratulations go to the winners and we are very proud to have associations with each and every one of them:

  • Affordable Development: CCG for Sighthill;
  • Large Private Development: Dundas Estates for Calderwood Village;
  • Medium Private Development: Cruden Homes for Woodcroft, Edinburgh;
  • Small Private Development: Springfield Properties for Middleton of Canmore, Braemar;
  • Supporting Organisation: Hillcrest Housing Association;
  • First Time Buyer Home: Cruden Homes for Berberis;and
  • Home Builder of the Year: Cruden Homes.

If I were to add a further “P” to Nicola’s list, it would be “Perseverance”.  The industry has come through tough times over recent years and continues to face challenges not least in the north east market. The resilience and positive spirit within the industry shone through at the Annual Lunch & Awards.  Congratulations to all of the award winners and to Homes for Scotland for once again delivering a first class event.

John Strachan

Burness admin