A once in a generation opportunity: the first affordable homes in 20 years tackle the need for long-term residential homes, and will help the island thrive into the future.
The Inner Hebridean island with a population of 125 faced a dilemma of increasing holiday- and second-homes, fewer available homes for residents, and pressure on island services.
In response, Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC) is leading the much-needed project to provide homes and new business opportunities, with support from the Communities Housing Trust.
The initial development of nine new affordable homes just outside Scalasaig and close to the ferry terminal is expected to be complete in autumn 2023. The properties will be allocated according to island priorities and are a mix of affordable rent and discounted sale, as well as discounted self-build plots. A second phase of further affordable housing is planned by CCDC.
Several homes for Mowi staff also form part of the development, which will return to the community if and when they’re no longer needed. Nearby, two new community-owned commercial units are being built as workshop or studio space, to enable existing businesses to grow or new ones to start up.
Applications are now open for all properties, with a deadline of Sunday 19 March for the self-build plots and houses for sale, and a deadline of Sunday 2 July for the rental properties.
People in the island or with local connections to the area through work or family will be prioritised, as a way to promote the ongoing sustainability of island communities. People from outwith the island with particular skillsets and who wish to live and work in Colonsay and contribute to island life are also invited to apply.
There are four 2-3 bedroom homes available for affordable rent, two 2-3-bedroom homes for discounted sale, and three discounted self-build plots.
The Rural Housing Burden is applied to the self-build plots which gives full ownership, and applies a discount percentage in perpetuity which protects the ongoing affordability for the local community.
In 2020, CCDC purchased two plots of land with funds from the Scottish Land Fund, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute Council, and Mowi, who will fund the provision of houses for their staff. Further funding for the construction phase has been obtained through Rural and Islands Housing Fund, Argyll & Bute Council’s Strategic Housing Fund, Inspiring Scotland, the £2m Islands Green Recovery Programme (Prògram Ath-Shlànachaidh Uaine nan Eilean), Local Energy Scotland’s CAREs fund and the CCDC’s own very successful Crowdfunding campaign. HIE and Regeneration Capital Grant Fund are funding the business unit build.
Dannie Onn, Director of CCDC said: “On behalf of the Colonsay community, CCDC is looking forward to housing our homeless folk and welcoming new people and families to this beautiful island. We hope they will be part of a fresh impetus for building opportunities for work and life here as part of a sustainable community. It has taken a while to get here, but the legal and financial incentives put in place by the Scottish Government to promote sustainable, self-reliant communities on the Scottish Islands looks to be paying off in Colonsay."
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of the Communities Housing Trust said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for islanders or folk really keen to move to Colonsay. With the homes and the business units, it’s the full package to provide a secure, long-term future for individual families, as well as the island itself. We’d like to particularly thank the Scottish Government for their funding support.
“CCDC’s dedication to this project and community is inspiring, and a positive example to other rural and island populations which may be struggling. Community-led projects can really make a world of difference to sustaining a community for generations to come.”
For further details of the properties and to apply, please visit: https://www.chtrust.co.uk/current-opportunities.html.
This blog features a variety of CHT’s developments and projects located throughout the central and northern Scotland. It also includes the latest news and updates regarding the Trust.