Two new energy efficient single storey homes have been built for the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust’s Rent to Buy Scheme at Reraig, Balmacara, Kyle of Lochalsh on land previously owned by the Kinlochshiel Shinty Club.
The Kinlochshiel Shinty Club approached the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust to explore the possibility of working together to procure a new state of the art shinty pitch by offering part of their site for affordable housing. Working in partnership with the local club has resulted in mutual benefits to the club and to the local community by improving the facilities and helping to address housing need locally. Due to the popularity of the scheme, a third home has been built at “Grant Road” and an open day to celebrate its completion is being held on 27th July.
James MacQueen Builders Ltd. has previously built seven R.HOUSE’s over two phases for the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust at Auldearn as part of a larger development including private homes at Montrose Woods. The homes have received excellent feedback on the extremely low running costs experienced by the tenants, which makes the homes more affordable to live in, as well as, to rent and then purchase.
Ronnie MacRae, Chief Executive Officer, The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust said:
“Once again we are delighted to be working with James MacQueen Builders Ltd. and R.HOUSE to provide energy efficient, lower-cost homes in Balmacara. The Rent to Buy Scheme provides households with the opportunity to rent and the purchase their homes with the aid of a loyalty cash-back amount for their mortgage deposit. The scheme has proved extremely popular and it has loan funding secured for around 60 homes, spread throughout Highland communities over a 3 year period.
This development is an excellent example of how dedicated partnership working in smaller communities can have a significant impact. The Kinlochshiel Shinty Club has been an excellent partner to work with and we wish them every success with their new pitch and their shinty fixtures”.
Keith Loades on behalf of The Shinty Club stated:
“We welcome the great news that the new houses are about to be tenanted. It was a pleasure to be able to work with Highland Communities Small Housing Trust and James MacQueen and it is pleasing to note that all parties have secured their own objectives whilst at the same time providing much needed housing and an excellent sporting facility which will benefit the wider community for years to come”.
A spokesperson from R.HOUSE, who are in a partnership with James MacQueen Builders Ltd. stated:
“R.HOUSE are dedicated to providing architect designed, energy efficient, low-cost, locally built homes that can endure the rigours of the Highland weather. We welcomed the opportunity to be involved in this project with Highland Small Communities Housing Trust and Kinlochshiel Shinty Club, providing much needed affordable housing as well as a new sporting facility that will benefit the community for generations. We wish them every success for the future”.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart MSP:
“I am delighted to see that the Rent to Buy Scheme has given people who might not otherwise have been able to afford their own homes the opportunity to get on the housing ladder. Over the past 3 years, the Scottish Government has invested over £7 million to deliver new Rent to Buy homes.
We have now launched a £25 million Rural Housing Fund for Scotland which will provide an estimated 500 new affordable homes in rural areas over the next three years by helping with the building of new homes and the refurbishment of existing buildings.”
For more details, call R.House on 01478 612 899; the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust on 01463 233 549 or Kinlochshiel Shinty Club on firstname.lastname@example.org
In her Priorities for Government speech on 25 May 2016, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would undertake an ‘end-to-end’ review of enterprise and skills services. This Call for Evidence invites you to contribute your views so Scottish Government can ensure that they and all their public agencies are delivering the joined-up support that our young people, universities, colleges and businesses need.
Scottish Government are asking for your views and opinions of where the system may need improving in niche areas as well as your view of the system as whole. Any recommendations to Ministers will be based on the evidence that is gathered through this call and other evidence gathering. Therefore not only are your views, but potential solutions, welcomed as part of this evidence based change.
To express your views, please go to - https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/enterpris…/call-for-evidence.
An empty schoolhouse in Achiltibuie will be transformed into two affordable dwellings thanks to an innovative funding package secured by The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust and the Coigach Community Development Company with support from The Scottish Government, The Nationwide Foundation and The Highland Council.
Community ownership of a disused schoolhouse in the remote community of Achiltibuie, Coigach, Wester Ross is to be given a new lease of life. The Coigach Community Development Company is delighted to see that the renovation of the old schoolhouse will now take place. Construction is expected to begin shortly, with the homes due for occupation by new tenants later this year.
Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) will oversee the development and the future housing management of the properties, which will be made available to people in housing need once the renovation is completed.
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of HSCHT explained “HSCHT is delighted to be working with The Scottish Government, the Nationwide Foundation and The Highland Council, to bring about one of the many pipeline community-owned housing projects in the Highlands. The Coigach Community Development Company will benefit greatly from two new fit-for-purpose affordable homes in Achiltibuie. The project demonstrates the great benefits derived from cooperation with the community and the wider partnership of those involved.”
Award-winning David Somerville Architects has redesigned the property, improving the standards with increased insulation and a responsive heating system resulting in low running costs: “Transforming the property into two flats instead of one large dwelling will maximize the potential to provide local housing for key workers and local people”.
The Scottish Government’s new Rural Housing Fund is instrumental in funding this Achiltibuie renovation. The fund is already popular with communities with aspirations to own their own homes and it complements other recent interventions from the Scottish Government, such as the Scottish Land Fund, the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We recognise the challenges of developing affordable housing in remote rural areas and so I’m delighted that the Scottish Government is able to provide funding to this worthwhile project through the Rural Housing Fund. This will contribute to the Scottish Government’s commitment to build 50,000 new homes across Scotland over the next five years”.
HSCHT received funding of £120,000 from the Nationwide Foundation through its Decent, Affordable Homes strategy. This funding also contributed towards the completion of another property last year, Druim Garbh, owned by the Acharacle Community Company.
Sam Stewart, Head of Programmes at the Nationwide Foundation, says: “A lack of decent affordable housing in very rural areas is highly detrimental; however community-led housing initiatives - such as this one at Achiltibuie - ensure that the right sort of affordable homes are created to suit the specific housing needs of people in the local community.”
The Coigach Community Development Company said: “This is really good news for Coigach. This funding means work can now start on the old Achiltibuie Schoolhouse and we'll soon have two new flats to rent in the community. Lack of affordable housing is a real problem here and even just two new households will make a big difference for the better. It’s a really positive step and we are delighted to be working with Highland Small Communities Housing Trust on this project and grateful to our funders who are making it all possible”.
- Julia Campbell, Local Development Officer.
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.