Housing shortage could deprive Mull of teachers

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High school parents on Mull fear the island’s housing shortage could deprive their children of teachers.

A number of school houses were sold off by Argyll and Bute Council but Tobermory still has two council-owned flats for teachers in the town.

One of them is occupied but the other at the council buildings on Breadalbane Street is empty and badly in need of repair.

Much to parents’ growing frustrations with the council, the three-bedroom flat is still waiting for a survey to be carried so a list of jobs can be drawn up to make it fit to live in.

A survey has still not been scheduled despite the urgent need to make the flat habitable, say worried parents.

One teacher desperately seeking accommodation even offered to move into the flat in its current state but the council said it would not work around her, one concerned parent told The Oban Times, adding: ‘I feel the council is totally out of touch with the difficulties we face on Mull with housing.

‘We don’t have enough affordable housing, it’s that simple. For a property to sit empty is just idiotic.’

A joint statement from Alasdair McCrone and Tracy Mayo, who co-chair Tobermory High School Parent Council, said: ‘It is essential to the sustainability of island life that we continue to be able to attract and, importantly, retain teaching staff. The availability of housing is key to this.

‘We are both aware of the acute shortage of affordable housing for people on the island including key workers. Teachers who have moved to the island to take up posts will rarely have any family connections here so their options are extremely limited and a housing problem can quickly turn into a crisis.

‘We would ask that the council does everything in its power to ensure that it supports staff with immediate accommodation needs. It is important that we also plan for the future so that situations such as these can be avoided.’

Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘We are in the process of getting a survey carried out at the property concerned and will continue to liaise with the teacher regarding suitable properties on the island.’

Caption: Tobermory High School