The Balivanich Regeneration Project won an Award at last week's Dynamic Place Awards Ceremony in Alloa.
The Project was entered in the Buildings and Construction category and was one of six projects to receive an Award.
The Project Team was also one of three short-listed for the 'Team of the Year' Award but narrowly missed out on the top prize.
The Project was also short-listed for the Supreme Award but lost to the deserving winners which were COPE Enterprises of Lerwick who provide support and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.
Project Officer John MacQuarrie and Designer Peter O'Donnell collected the award on behalf of the Comhairle's Housing Department at the prestigious event in the Kilncraigs Mill in Alloa.
Also in attendance was Councillor for Benbecula Mr Martin Taylor who was very proud to be associated with the project. He said: “This project is deserving of its recognition. It has transformed the area and improved the lives of many people in our community. I congratulate the Project Team on their success in this prestigious award”.
Chairman of Housing Cllr Norman Macleod said: “I am delighted that the Comhairle has won this award. I would like to thank the Scottish Executive for the support they provided. This is a real success story for the Western Isles.
The Project team now look forward to the 2004 Regeneration Awards in London tonight (Monday 29th November) where they will be joined by Councillor George Lonie and Alistair Morrison MSP who were both instrumental in securing funding for the project.
The withdrawal of all service men in the Royal Artillery Range and RAF Benbecula in 1998 left Balivanich with a large deserted housing estate. Balivanich was suffering from a lack of economic activity, an under performing property market, low asset ownership, empty housing and low community confidence.
In July 2000 Comhairle nan Eileans Housing Department received a 2.5 million funding package. The Regeneration Project’s main aim was to revitalise a deserted housing estate. 51 poor quality houses were demolished. 25 houses were upgraded for rent with re-rendering, new external doors, new showers, kitchens, heating systems and fireplaces were installed. 35 houses were also upgraded and sold on the open market.
Parking areas have also been provided. There have been a number of environmental improvements such as gardens, footpaths and walling together with the creation of more vibrant open spaces for community enjoyment.
The Regeneration Project has transformed the military quarters into a desirable residential area improving quality of life and restoring community confidence.
A recent increase in the waiting list demand shows a renewed interest in Balivanich as a desirable residential area. Also a recent resurgence in housing demand and dramatic recovery of the Housing Market also suggests a renewed interest it also shows that the project has achieved its objectives..
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
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