CHT is delighted that Planning in Principal has been granted for a small development in Boat of Garten, in the Cairngorms National Park. We have been working with the Boat of Garten community for a number of years to get to this stage.
The land has been made available by the Reidhaven Estate and CHT will develop 2 accessible homes for affordable rent, and the Estate who are our development partner, will provide 2 self-build open market plots.
It was identified early on that there was a lack of affordable rented accommodation for older people in the village and this development will provide 2 wheelchair accessible bungalows aimed at helping older people stay in the community without the need to move away. The site just off Deshar Road is close to the local shops and post office.
Boat of Garten has a high concentration of people over 65 and surrounding areas, and also a high percentage of housing which is classed as a second home or holiday let - 25.1% of all homes according to the 2011 census - which is significantly higher than the national (1.5%) and regional (5.7%) averages.
CHT's affordable homes provided in this development would be let in perpetuity at an affordable level of social equivalent rent, and our allocation policy prioritises people with local live or work connections.
As part of the planning conditions for the development, new planting of native broadleaf trees in two separate sites on Reidhaven Estate land elsewhere in Boat of Garten will be undertaken, three times the size of the development.
This project illustrates the benefits of private landowner collaboration with communities and we are extremely pleased this project can now progress to the next stage.
Communities Housing Trust is delighted that two of our developments have been shortlisted in the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)'s Scotland Housing Awards 2021.
Our collaborative development with Rothiemurchus and members of the Aviemore community has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Housing Innovation category.
The Old Sawmill development provided a total of six self-build homes on Rothiemurchus land: four affordable plots for the local community that required no public subsidy, and two open-market plots, within the Cairngorms National Park.
The affordable self-build homes all have the Rural Housing Burden attached, a legal title condition which protects the property’s affordability in perpetuity and prioritises the local community in future sales, helping prevent holiday- and second-home ownership.
The community-led development at Achtercairn in Gairloch has been shortlisted In the Excellence in Regeneration category.
This large-scale development to regenerate a derelict brownfield site in the centre of the village provided 25 affordable homes of mixed tenures; the GALE Centre tourist information hub, community shop & cafe (Scotland's first public building to be awarded Passivhaus status); farm shop; Air Training Corps facility; and further sites for development. We worked closely with the local community and a broad range of partners including Albyn Housing Association, Gairloch & Loch Ewe Action Forum (GALE), HIE, Highland Council, and University of the Highlands & Islands.
The winners of the CIH Scotland Housing Awards will be announced in a ceremony in Glasgow on 25 November 2021. Congratulations to all other finalists and a range of projects!
Our development with Staffin Community Trust was featured on the BBC's Disclosure programme on Monday, in an episode about the difficulties finding housing, particularly for younger and low-income folk.
There's no doubt that finding affordable, quality housing is a huge struggle for many rural communities across Scotland.
So what are the positives? The Taighean a' Chaisheil development in Staffin is a community-led and community-owned development, with sale prices and rents set lower than the area average. The community trust decides an allocation policy for the homes (where allocations are made independently of the trust and community, importantly), and the homes for sale have a Rural Housing Burden attached, which means the discounted price applies to all future sales, and again local folk are prioritised in the allocation process.
Yes, it may not be enough homes just now, and it may take longer than standard commercial developments BUT:
We want this to be seen as a positive example of WHAT'S POSSIBLE: a community taking the future into their own hands, finding partners to help make it happen, and doing something about it - as a way to alleviate immediate need; to prove it works, which helps make the case for larger scale projects; and to inspire confidence in other communities to address their own needs and aspirations.
In terms of possible solutions, Staffin Community Trust are already demonstrating it on the ground. And there is such a range of housing options available now, beyond social or mid-market rent - for example Low Cost Home Ownership (as demonstrated in Staffin), or discounted self-build.
Together in Staffin we'll have housed 6 more local families, provided new space for small businesses, and a new NHS health centre. It's a start...
(In addition, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Kilbeg was also mentioned in the programme - we're working in partnership with them on a rather exciting project, site pictured below. More about that very shortly!)
The below article from Scottish Housing News about the new Scottish Government's Rural Communities 'Ideas Into Action' Fund may be of interest and relevance to your community. The fund will support community-led rural development with small and larger grants.
Not-for-profit community groups in rural areas will soon be able to apply for Scottish Government funding of up to £50,000 to trial new and innovative ways to address local challenges and benefit from local opportunities.
The Rural Communities “Ideas into Action” Fund is supported by £1.5 million of funding and will be delivered in partnership with Inspiring Scotland. It will allow applicants to take forward ideas that will test change while linking community action with addressing local issues.
The fund forms part of the wider £3m fund announced earlier this year in the Scottish Budget, to deliver pilot projects testing innovative ways of delivering Community Led Local Development (CLLD) before March 2022.
Mairi Gougeon, rural affairs secretary, said: “I want to put rural and island communities in charge of making change happen in their local area. This Fund will help communities do just that, allowing them to be creative and test unproven but good ideas.
“We will be looking for projects that demonstrate how they will help make rural Scotland greener and fairer. Projects will also need to show how they will include people especially those who are harder to reach or who are remote from or less often involved in community activity
“The aim is to learn about what does and doesn’t work in rural communities and why, and we will use this information to influence future policy.”
Celia Tennant, Inspiring Scotland CEO, added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Scottish Government to deliver the Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund which will support locally-driven social action in rural communities. This approach is central to Inspiring Scotland’s ethos, to encourage new ideas, to capture learning and to support, develop and connect communities. We look forward to supporting successful applicants to deliver the aims and ambitions of the fund.”
The fund will open for applications on Monday 13 September, and close on Friday 8 October at 12 noon. Full details will be made available on the Inspiring Scotland website when the application window opens.
Link to Fund information: www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/rural-communities-ideas-into-action-fund/
Original article at: www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/scottish-government-announces-1-5-million-funding-for-rural-community-groups
The Old Sawmill development at Rothiemurchus near Aviemore has been selected as a finalist in the Rural Housing category of the Scottish Land & Estates Helping It Happen Awards.
The development is a collaboration between members of the local community, the Rothiemurchus Estate, and the Communities Housing Trust.
It provided a total of six self-build homes on Rothiemurchus land: four affordable plots for the local community that required no public subsidy, and two open-market plots, within the Cairngorms National Park.
The affordable self-build homes all have the Rural Housing Burden attached, a legal title condition which protects the property’s affordability in perpetuity and prioritises the local community in future sales, helping prevent holiday- and second-home ownership.
Aviemore is a highly desirable area, with challenges of land availability and planning, limited available housing stock, and even less affordable housing.
With an urgent need for new and fair middle-market opportunities and solutions, several local families formed a co-operative and approached Johnnie Grant of Rothiemurchus to tackle the issue, with the Communities Housing Trust brokering the unique cross-subsidy model to provide the plots.
The high-quality family homes use local and sustainable materials where possible, and embody the Rothiemurchus vernacular with larch cladding and tin roofing. The homes, each built to individual specifications, are highly energy-efficient and air-tight for environmental reasons and to reduce running costs, another aspect of affordable homes, with air-source heat pumps. There is also a 12-year tree-planting plan on the site.
The Old Sawmill development is the first project to benefit from the Dr & Mrs Steven Faulds Memorial Fund, which is dedicated to buying land, servicing plots and facilitating self-builds, and is administered by the Communities Housing Trust.
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust, said: “We’re extremely grateful that this ‘no public subsidy’ model has been recognised by Scottish Land & Estates - it’s a win-win collaboration on estate land to secure affordable housing using self-build, within the Cairngorms National Park. We’ve supported four local families to build their own homes and remain in the area – which may not otherwise have been possible – while meeting the objectives of the Local Authority and Scottish Government, and we are very hopeful this development can be replicated in other areas where there are few affordable properties to rent or buy.”
Johnnie Grant of Rothiemurchus, said: “It took nearly ten years of investment and the determination of the members of the Old Sawmill co-operative and the Communities Housing Trust to make this happen – thank you to them. I have always wanted people to have a fair opportunity to bring up their families in the place they call home; I hope that selection for the final will provide the confidence and support for this solution to be repeated both here and elsewhere.”
Lesley McKenna, co-operative member and Old Sawmill resident, said: “We’re really aware how difficult it is as a local person working in this area to find a house and especially to build your own house, but we know it’s possible now. It wasn’t easy and it took a while! But it has worked, and it’s our wish that going through this unwieldy planning process can, and should, make it easier for local residents undertaking such ventures in the future.”
The winners of the Scottish Land & Estates Helping It Happen Awards will be announced in an online ceremony on 27 October 2021.
The Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA) is launching a survey to inform what housing is needed now and into the future.
In partnership with the Communities Housing Trust, MCHA is currently identifying possible sites for housing in the area. The survey results will help shape what housing is provided, led by the needs and aspirations of the community, and will help ensure future sustainability.
MCHA is particularly keen to retain younger people, families and those working in the area, and to provide suitable affordable homes for local people.
As well as current residents, MCHA would also like to hear from people wanting to return or re-locate to the area, and local businesses – including potential new businesses.
Graham Campbell, Chair of MCHA, said: “Housing is a significant issue for many rural communities, including Minginish, and as such a key priority for MCHA. We encourage all interested parties to complete the survey, so that the CHT can fully understand the demand and issues locally, and use this to identify solutions and inform funding bids. This is your opportunity to influence your future and our community's future.”
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Minginish community to understand their specific needs. We suspect demand is high here, and we now have increased opportunities with Scottish government policies on land reform, supporting rural housing and community empowerment.
“Community-led housing is often the best option in small, rural communities, as it can be tailored, providing a mix of tenures as well as a mix of house sizes, to give the greatest possible flexibility to residents.”
The surveys can be completed online before Sunday 26 September at: https://www.chtrust.co.uk/surveys.
Thursday 29 July
Join us for a short online event to hear about the need for affordable housing on an island - Colonsay - and how a community-led approach was the solution. We are working there with Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC) on a mixed development of housing and commercial units, crucial to the sustainability of island communities. The development was visited last week by Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Islands (pictured above), who cut the first turf. Read more about the project here.
The event is free and open to all; please register below. You may also wish to join CHT as a member. Membership is free and open to any community council, community association or similar local community-based organisation. Join here.
11am: EGM (only CHT members may vote, but all are welcome to attend. The Notice and special resolution to be voted on can be viewed here.)
11.05am: Community-led housing in Colonsay: presentation by Colonsay Community Development Company
Earlier this year, Applecross Community Company successfully secured surplus land from NHS Highland and started building community owned housing. The project received funding from the Scottish Land Fund, SSE Sustainable Development Fund and Rural & Islands Housing Fund to build 3 homes adjacent to the surgery.
CHT are project managing the development on behalf of ACC and look forward to the completion of the homes later this year. Older residents of Applecross will be given priority in allocations to the properties, although anyone in the community and further afield can apply.
For many years it has been difficult to locate a suitable site within the community to take forward a housing project. The site beside the surgery was identified by ACC and they led the initial discussions with the local NHS service providers. CHT helped to shape the project and supported ACC to develop the proposals. The Rural & Islands Housing Fund made it possible to take forward an affordable housing project, with ACC also investing from their local renewables project Applejuice http://www.applecrosshydro.scot/
The delivery of this project has paved the way for to ACC purchase 2 more areas of land in the community from the Applecross Trust. Watch this space for more exciting #communityledhousing #woodlandcrofts
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.”
We are extremely delighted that our work with the communities of Gairloch is a finalist in the Best Regeneration Project category of the UK-wide Inside Housing Development Awards 2021.
Judging was apparently very tough this year, with a record 300 entries in total. Winners will be announced in November.
The Achtercairn development in Gairloch was a large-scale collaborative project with funding from the Scottish Government's Rural & Islands Housing Fund which provided 25 affordable homes (19 social rent and 6 low-cost home ownership, including Rent To Buy), managed by three housing providers; a tourist information hub with Gairloch and Lochewe Action Forum, Scotland's first public building to be awarded 'Passivhaus' status; a new shop and cafe which sells produce from over 40 local producers; a new classroom for the University of the Highlands & Islands; and a new training facility for the Air Training Corps.
Project partners included Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum (GALE), the Farm & Garden Store, Gairloch Museum, Colin Armstrong Architects, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Albyn Housing Society, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the Highland Council, VisitScotland, Air Training Corps, and Macleod & Mitchell Contractors, not to mention lots of local residents and interest groups.
Read more about the project and impacts on the village: https://www.chtrust.co.uk/gairloch.html
As the community-led mixed development in Tomintoul progresses, we thought it would be good to share a quick update with you all.
Watch the short video above for an overview, and update on site progress. It's great to see the project coming along, particularly in a National Park and the extra challenges this brings.
Tomintoul is a village in Moray, within the Cairngorms National Park. Attractive with tourists, it has a high prevalence of second homes, and lack of available long-term housing.
We worked with the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust to undertake community consultation on housing need, which clearly showed that there was a demand for good quality affordable housing within the community.
It was also clear from responses that the lack of housing was a barrier to families remaining, and new families moving in, which was having a negative effect on local businesses, community groups, and the school rolls.
The former secondary school building, derelict for over 20 years and an eyesore in the village, was identified as a potential site for development. We supported TGDT to acquire the site, which was passed into community ownership in November 2020, with funding from the Scottish Land Fund.
With support from Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), the school building was demolished in early 2021, and construction will begin in spring.
We continue to provide development support for the construction of 12 affordable homes, including several live/work units. The homes, of differing sizes, are designed around a shared social space, to address social isolation and build community spirit.
With TGDT, we continue to monitor the range of tenures required, which could include low-cost home ownership, and a range of affordable rents. With the live/work units too, this flexibility will help cater for a range of needs and help ensure long-term sustainability.
It is hoped that the development will help increase the school roll, and ensure the longevity of the village well into the future.
Read about more community-led projects we're working on here.
To discuss what your own community requires, feel free to contact us for an informal chat.
Construction began last week on two new community-led affordable houses to rent in Cannich. The project has been driven by Strathglass & Affric Community Company, who were keen to see an empty building put to better use, for the good of the local community.
NHS Highland, who owned the nurses’s house, transferred it to the Community Company under the Community Asset Transfer scheme. The land transfer was completed in February 2021 with funding from the Scottish Land Fund.
The new houses will meet a need for high-quality, affordable accommodation within the local area. The project is being led by Strathglass & Affric Company Company, with project management and development support from the Communities Housing Trust, and funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural & Island Housing Fund, Quaker Housing Trust, Highland Council, SSE Developing Communities Fund, Soirbheas, and the Strathglass Community Fund. The houses will continue to be offered at affordable rents for future generations, and will employ local contractors MC Builders during the build process.
The doctor’s surgery, which was previously housed in the extension to the nurse’s house, moved into fit-for-purpose premises within the renovated Community Hall six years ago. The Hall is owned and managed by Strathglass & Affric Community Company and is a hub for Cannich residents and visitors alike.
Alan Hood, Chair, Strathglass & Affric Community Company, who has worked tirelessly to develop the project: “The new 2 and 3 bedroomed homes will be owned by the Strathglass and Affric Community Company on behalf of the people of Strathglass and the houses will be offered at affordable rent for many generations to come helping people to stay in and contribute to our fantastic Community. We hope we will be able to retain families in the area, which will also help keep the school going. It’s been a real joint effort with so many organisations and funders pitching in, it’s been great and we look forward to seeing how the build progresses!”
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust: “Small community-led developments such as this one can be absolutely crucial to sustaining rural communities – sometimes it’s the only option. A few houses combined with work opportunities and services can help keep a community alive, with wider social and economic benefits brought to the area. We’d like to congratulate Strathglass & Affric Community Community and are extremely glad to be supporting them in building these new affordable homes.”
Dr Tim Allison, NHS Highland’s Director of Public Health: “Affordable good quality housing is a vital asset for all communities, and it is a significant factor in improvement in health and wellbeing. We are delighted about the work undertaken to transfer the ownership of the property.”
Completion is anticipated in Autumn 2021. Expressions of interest in the homes can be made with the Communities Housing Trust: https://www.chtrust.co.uk/future-opportunities.html
The Assynt Development Trust has bought 55 acres of former glebe land from the Church of Scotland, with support from the Scottish Land Fund.
The purchase, which was finalised at the end of March, marks the next step of a 15-year community-led search to find suitable land for building much-needed affordable homes for the local community, as well as other facilities.
With the land now in community ownership, the Assynt Development Trust is hoping the site will deliver multiple benefits to the community, and plan to hold further consultations in the local area once Covid restrictions are eased.
The site, situated on the road towards Glencanisp Lodge, was identified after a thorough process of surveys, housing need evaluations, and careful thought and planning.
Initial ideas for the site are being explored, to potentially include affordable homes, an all-abilities path network, commercial work units, and education and training facilities. The Communities Housing Trust supported the community with the land acquisition, and will continue to help facilitate the development process.
Willie Jack, Chair of Assynt Development Trust: “We are really pleased that the land purchase has now gone through, and we can now begin to address some of the issues facing our community, such as the need for affordable homes for Assynt residents. We are very keen that people have a chance to pitch their ideas in, for what they need and want in Lochinver. As everything is still at an early stage, and with the site secured, we can work on developing the site into what local people want for it, now and into the future.”
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust: “This is an exciting opportunity to provide not just affordable housing, but wider social and economic community benefits too. This community-led, mixed development model is often so much more suited to smaller, more rural communities and we are extremely pleased to continue working with the Trust and the wider community to further develop the site. We’d like to thank the Scottish Land Trust and congratulate the community on the buyout, and recognise all the hard work that’s been put in to get to this stage. Well done!”
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.