Do you want to live in a rural village in East Sutherland? The residents of Edderton in the Scottish Highlands are looking for families, couples and individuals to help reinvigorate their village which has experienced some population decline over the last few decades.
Within a short stroll from the renowned Dornoch Firth, good travel links through the nearby A9, a primary school and the home of Balblair Distillery, there are plenty of opportunities for new businesses and services to spring up. Edderton is also close to the town of Tain with its secondary school, railway station and other amenities.
Ewen Simpson, local resident and farmer: “We need young families, not just in Edderton, but across the Highlands… In Edderton in the 1970s, we had a post office, a shop, we even had petrol pumps outside the shop at one point, and the pub, all of which is gone now, which does take the heart out of a community. That will all change again, we’ll get there again.”
Local partnership Caledonia Forestry Ltd. has helped to facilitate and enable the project by gifting the land for community development.
The Communities Housing Trust (CHT), who work closely with communities across central and northern Scotland to provide affordable housing and other amenities, are currently conducting two Housing Needs Surveys with the support of Edderton Community Council. One survey is focused on current residents and people who live nearby, and one is for people who currently live out with the area who would like to move in.
The development will include 5-7 affordable homes of mixed tenures, including discounted self-build plots, and the surveys will help dictate what homes and tenures are required.
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust: “With land available to build affordable homes, we now need to know who would like to live here and become a part of helping this village thrive again. It’s a rare and forward-thinking opportunity to repopulate a rural area, especially with increasing options for homeworking, new business start-ups and economic diversification.”
While the community are supportive of newcomers to Edderton to help make the village thrive again, the development will also cater for any existing local need from in and around the area.
Michael Brown, local resident and chair of the Edderton Community Council: “Young families and jobs are the life blood of a community. Like so many Highland villages, the Primary School has a falling role, and the local church is on the verge of closure. The Communities Housing Trust has thrown us a lifeline to our future. We have already worked with them on a recent housing project which is almost complete with the tenancy allocation awarded to two young families. We would like to welcome new people to our village, so this is great news for us, and we are so grateful to the CHT.”
If you’d like to be part of helping Edderton thrive into the future and could genuinely see yourself living in this rural village, or already live in the vicinity, please complete the Housing Needs Survey here: www.chtrust.co.uk/surveys. The survey closes on 13 June.
Planning permission has been granted for an initial phase of nine affordable homes on Colonsay, with more to follow, prioritising the need for long-term residential homes on the island.
The Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC) is working in partnership with the Communities Housing Trust (CHT) to provide a much-needed and community-led mixed development of affordable housing and business units. The business units received planning permission earlier this year.
There are currently only nine social housing units and only a handful of private rentals on the island. More than 40% of the housing stock on Colonsay is used as a holiday home or for self-catering holiday accommodation. Homes regularly sell - often unadvertised - for well-above the local and national average meaning that young people and families on low and middle incomes are priced out of the market. There is no shortage of people who would like to remain on Colonsay or move in. CCDC has already received more than 20 expressions of interest in this development.
In 2020, with CHT's support, 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 local workers. Further funding has been obtained through Inspiring Scotland, the £2m Islands Green Recovery Programme (Prògram Ath-Shlànachaidh Uaine nan Eilean), and the CCDC’s own very successful Crowdfunding campaign.
This initial phase of nine affordable homes at Scalasaig will be of mixed tenure, based on local need: affordable rent, low-cost home ownership, local worker and discounted self-build plots. A short distance away, two commercial business units will be built, as possible workshop and studio space.
Caitlin McNeill, Director, CCDC: "The future of our community rests upon affordable, accessible housing. Housing is the foundation of a person's security and a fundamental human right and, unfortunately, we know all too well the consequences when housing needs are not met.
“With the approval of the master plan, CCDC, together with the community and those to whom it matters most, will be able to continue to address the housing crisis on the island. We are extremely grateful to those who have supported and enabled us to reach this point."
John Forbes, Community-Led Housing Co-ordinator, Communities Housing Trust: “We are extremely pleased to be working with CCDC to support longer-term, working residents on Colonsay. Their 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.”
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.