On 21st of April 2015, MSP Margaret Burgess, the Scottish Governments Housing Minister visited projects we have been involved with in both Dornoch and Helmsdale.
In her visit to the town of Dornoch, a place where HSCHT has developed many new homes recently. In the past 12 months, we have completed 6 new homes in the area. The first two properties in Dornoch were built through our first phase of Rent To Buy properties, working with local contractor J & S Gunn. Both are now occupied, with 2 families now been given the opportunity to own their own home after renting the property for 5 years before purchasing at a reduced, below-market price. This is made possible by the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden to the property.
Since 2013, the Scottish Government has issued over £7 million to our Rural Rent to Buy scheme, as we continue to develop affordable housing throughout the Highlands.
Right next door to these properties are two new homes developed for the Highland Council through the Greener Homes Initiative. These properties have recently been completed very recently this year and have already been allocated to residents who have now moved into the properties. The Minister got the chance to not only meet these residents, but also view the inside of the homes.
Rent to Buy and Greener Homes projects are being developed across the Highlands thanks to an innovative partnership between Scottish Government, Highland Council and HSCHT. The various schemes that have been developed through funding from the Scottish Government, have not only provided the Dornoch with new varying types of affordable housing solutions, but has also allowed for new members of the community to get on the housing ladder.
Margaret Burgess then went on to visit our brand new homes built by Pat Munro Homes through the Rent To Buy Scheme. Completed at the very end of last year, the two semi-detached properties are now home to very happy residents who are now on their way to owning their own home. Located in the new Deans Park development in Dornoch, one of our Tenants, was happy to greet the Minister and welcome her into her home.
The Minister then travelled north to visit the community of Helmsdale to view their community owned housing project. Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) is spearheading a new community led housing development having built four new homes in the Highland village of Helmsdale, backed by £110,000 of Scottish Government investment. During her visit to Helmsdale, the Housing Minister Margaret Burgess met with new tenants of these properties, the local development trust and many children from the local primary school.
This innovative project is being driven by the community in order to provide community owned housing to ensure the future sustainability of the area. All statutory housing provision in the last 30 years has been provided in neighbouring villages, which has been detrimental and has led to out-migration from the community. Helmsdale went 35 years without any new affordable housing being made available for rent, and held a desire to solve this, as well as the aging demographic of the village.
HSCHT helped with this project in a number of ways. This included community engagement and facilitation, a local survey, initial project feasibility ans desktop funding options, negotiations with landowners and the local authority and the initial fundraising – a key challenge for the community in order to obtain the vision for this new project.
By partnering the Local Authority, local RSL along with guidance from HSCHT, Helmsdale community were able to deliver a feasible and practical solution to meet their longer term housing needs – four brand new rented homes to be managed by Albyn Housing Association using policies agreed with the Highland Council.
Helmsdale is part of the Growth at the Edge initiative by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. A local development officer consulted with the community through a series of open days and has produced a document “Shaping our future together”. In this housing features as a high priority for local people. Creating new community housing here will help make the community more sustainable:
There are a range of other benefits this project created including:
The day was a great success, and was seemingly enjoyed by all. Not only did Margaret Burgess perform the official opening ceremony of the Helmsdale & District Community Owned Housing Project, acknowledging the great success and work of the community, but it also allowed HSCHT to showcase the work we do throughout the Highlands.
If you would like any more information on these or any other projects we have worked on, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Alternatively, should you be interested in how we can help you or your community, call us on 01463 233549.
This blog post focuses on some of the projects we have in the Easter Ross and East Sutherland area of the Highlands. Various housing schemes that we provide are occurring in the town of Dornoch; while Alness is in the process of providing new properties under the Greener Homes Initiative. Our main contractors in these areas so far have been J & S Gunn Ltd, and Pat Munro Homes.
Recently we have had a mass increase in the provision of affordable housing in the Dornoch area. Having originally provided 2 semi-detached properties through our first phase of Rent To Buy developments, we are on our way to completing a further two homes as part of our second phase of Rent To Buy.
Our first of these developments was built by J & S Gunn Ltd. – two x three bedroom semi-detached properties completed in September this year. This project was done as part of our first phase of Rent To Buy homes. Both are now occupied, with 2 families now been given the opportunity to own their own home after renting the property for 5 years before purchasing at a reduced, below-market price. This is made possible by the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden to the property.
Rent To Buy Phase 1, Dornoch
Rural Housing Burden – A means of protecting the original discount offered on the home.
If you buy a home of ours which has this attached, you will still have full title to the property, although HSCHT holds a pre-emption right. Whilst you can pass the home onto your children, if you decide to sell it, this right of pre-emption which gives HSCHT the option to buy is back for the previously agreed equity share. This allows us to keep our house prices low, and maintain our ability to provide housing to families who may otherwise struggle to own their own home.
Nearing completion, and available for occupation early in the new year, we have 2 semi-detached bungalows, complete with front and back garden and off street parking. These houses are available to local families and individuals through the second phase of our Rent To Buy Scheme.
Rent To Buy Phase 2, Dornoch
The properties have been built by Pat Munro, as part of their large Deans Park development of new housing of various types in Dornoch. The great new homes – which tie in with the rest of the brand new modern housing and street development – include a spacious, open plan lounge and kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. In the final stages of construction, these properties are yet to be assigned; so if you are interested in applying, contact us about an application or brochure.
Visualisation of Internal Layout for illustrative purposes.
Due to be complete in February next year, we have also managed to introduce another two homes by J & S Gunn Ltd. through the Greener Homes Initiative – adjacent to the homes they previously built for us as part of our original Rent To Buy scheme.
These Greener Homes are being developed for the Highland Council. The tenants for these properties will be selected from the Highland Housing Register – a register shared between the Highland Council and registered social landlords around the Highlands compiled of anyone in the area seeking social rented housing.
The Greener Homes Initiative -
Following a successful bid from HSCHT and the Highland Council, through the Scottish Governments Greener homes Initiative (GHI), funding was secured to provide 20 units throughout the Highlands. While 13 of these units will be provided by HSCHT, a further 7 will made available by the Highland Council.
The Initiative aims to encourage modern sustainable and environmentally friendly developments, by providing funding to projects which make use of greener technologies, modern methods of construction carbon friendly materials.
Greener Homes, Dornoch
The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust have had a presence in Dornoch for several years now, with another two properties on the same street being sold to families back in 2008 through a shared equity scheme – allowing them to purchase an affordable home due to the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden.
We are also working with Pat Munro in the town of Alness, to deliver four new homes through the Greener Homes Initiative. Located in Newfield, Alness, these four semi-detached two bedroom bungalows can be purchased at a low fixed price now due to the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden.
Greener Homes, Alness
These properties are similar to the units designed and built by Pat Munro in Dornoch. Each includes two bedrooms, a bathroom and a large open plan kitchen and lounge area.
The modern layout is complemented by the modern methods of design and construction, with each encompassing greener ideals, from high levels of insulation to the introduction of Canadian Solar Black Panels. Pat Munro Homes have a proven track record of building sustainable homes, and these are no exception. The houses are designed to have lower running costs and are built to the Scottish Building Standards Silver Active Level of sustainability.
Visualisation of Internal Layout for illustrative purposes
While two of the properties in this scheme have already been completed and assigned to happy tenants, we are still taking applications from people who are interested in moving into the remaining two Greener Homes, which we are due to take handover of the second week in January.
We are currently taking applications for both the Pat Munro ‘Rent To Buy’ properties in Deans Park, Dornoch, as well as the new ‘Greener Homes’ being developed by them in Alness.
If you are interested in any of these schemes, get in contact to receive a brochure and application form. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog will feature a wide variety of HSCHT’s developments and types of projects located throughout the Scottish Highlands. It will also include the latest news and updates regarding the trust.