A housing needs survey has been launched this week in Comrie to provide information for planning affordable housing developments in the community. Comrie has been identified as having similar problems to north Perthshire and other areas of the Highlands and Islands in the loss of younger people and families because of a serious shortage of accommodation to rent or purchase at costs they are able to pay.

The reduced number of adults of working age is making it increasingly difficult for local shops and other businesses to recruit staff and to a shortfall in home care workers to support older people and others with special needs. The problems are even affecting the number of children in Comrie Primary School, which now has three combined classes for children of primary one to four age.

Perth & Kinross Council has become aware of these issues and has been working with the Land Group within Comrie Development Trust. Through the Council, links have been made with the Inverness-based Communities Housing Trust, which is already working in five other areas of Perthshire and has a lot of experience in gathering local views and producing reports on locally available accommodation. The housing needs assessment will form the basis for development funding to plan property renovations and improvements, adaptations, conversions, new builds, and empty buildings brought back into use to increase the availability of housing.

The survey work is aiming to get views from three groups: people living in Comrie households; local businesses; and people living in Crieff and elsewhere who are working in Comrie but unable to find accommodation in the village or who want to return or come to live and work in the area. All of the survey information will be completed anonymously, submitted direct to the Communities Housing Trust and kept confidential by them.

The survey report will set out details of current accommodation and how it is occupied, along with information about the number and circumstances of people needing accommodation but unable to find it in Comrie. The report will also provide affordable proposals for owner occupation, private-sector rentals, and social housing in Comrie.

The online survey form is available on the CHT website: www.chtrust.co.uk/surveys  with a prize draw for everyone returning a form.

For more information, please email  communityland@comriedevtrust.org.uk