Highland Perthshire has some of the highest house prices in Perth and Kinross. The low wage economy of the locatility makes housing affordability an issue for many people.
Fuel poverty is a significant issue this rural locality where many homes are not on the mains gas network making fuel more expensive, coupled with more older housing which are more expensive to heat and lower average wages because of the rural economy.
Transport is a key issue in this rural locality. There are four Train Stations in the Locality at Pitlochry and Blair Atholl on the Perth to Inverness line and Rannoch Station on the West Highland Line. The A9 runs through locality and is being duelled to improve travel times and improve road safety. The rural nature of the locality make it hard for people without access to a car to travel, particularly for young people to travel to activities and older people who can’t drive
Road accidents from casualties are more frequent in Highland than any other locality in Perth & Kinross, and are above the Scottish average, with 69.5 per 100,000 population in 2011-13.
In Aberfeldy community have worked to raise awareness of traffic accidents and have put ‘popup brairns’ to help drivers drive carefully through roads which school children cross.
Rural Wisdom and the Council are working together to look at potential community transport solutions in the location.
The Main Issue Report identifies need and challenges facing new developments for Perth & Kinross. For the northern part of the locality, it was estimated that from 2010-2014, 1,190 new homes were needed to meet demand, however only 270 housing units were built over that period. Towns where more housing is required include Aberfeldy and Pitlochry. Key challenges to building more housing in the region is the lack of available brownfield sites, most new homes would need to be built on greenfield site or sites next to existing settlements. In particular there are sites of scientific interest such as the meaning any proposed development should be limited. This has mean some families have had to move out the locality due to a lack of affordable housing.
There is also difficulty in identifying suitable land to develop in the area for employment opportunities. The main issue report highlighted the need for additional retail space. This is needed for a suitably sized food store in the northern part of the locality.
You can read all about future land use and the Local Development Plan process here.
Independent Planning advice can be obtained from PAS.
Blair Atholl and the Area North is part of the Cairngorms National Park and Planning comes under the National Park Authority.
Better Connected: Services, Transport and Digital Lives
Services: The people the commissioners spoke to repeatedly mentioned having to explain their situation several times to several different people. They also mentioned not knowing what services are on offer or what choices they have. The bureaucracy associated with getting help was identified as a barrier. The language services are provided in is also a significant factor in people’s willingness to seek them.
Transport: Transport was highlighted as a significant issue. This was amplified in situations where people did not have access to a car or had a disability. The commission heard that some communities were coming up with their own innovative transport solutions.
Digital Lives: The availability of more services and information online, whilst helpful for some, creates an additional barrier for those who do not have the require skills or access to technology. In many rural parts of Highland and Strathtay, broadband is unavailable and mobile coverage is poor. There is a real risk that those who could benefit most from being connected are being left behind.
Perth and Kinross- Local Housing Strategy