APPLICATIONS for new community-owned homes in Staffin are now open, ahead of welcoming the first tenants in the autumn.
Staffin Community Trust (SCT) is delighted to announce that applications for the three-bedroom homes at its new development Taighean a’ Chaiseil, in Stenscholl, are now welcomed.
It comes 22 years after the last affordable houses were built in Staffin at the site of the old primary school.
SCT has worked in partnership with the Communities Housing Trust (CHT) and Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association (LSHA) since 2014. The project is designed to provide new housing for families and young people priced out of the island’s property market.
Each organisation has built two houses each. SCT’s houses will be for an affordable monthly rent.
Taighean a’ Chaiseil will be completed later this year by James MacQueen Building Contractors Ltd. The houses have been attractively designed by island architects Rural Design and their energy efficiency will ensure low energy bills for tenants.
SCT has had 27 expressions of interest in the development to date, highlighting the significant demand for housing in north-east Skye.The new homes will help towards community sustainability after an alarming population decline and falling primary school roll in the last decade.
To avoid any potential conflict of interest in managing the allocation of the new homes, the SCT board and staff will not be involved in the process.
SCT’s agents, the CHT, will manage that process by using an Allocations Policy designed to support its aims of delivering quality housing locally. There will be a focus on families and people with connections to Staffin.
CHT is a vastly experienced housing enabler having worked with rural communities across the Highlands and Islands for three decades. It is currently processing applications for its own two houses at the site, which are for discounted sale.
Staffin Community Trust director Donald MacDonald said: “The demand shown so far for the housing, reflects the need within this community but it’s extremely frustrating that it takes seven years of constant battling against the system to build what is only a fraction of what is needed. For years government and councils have talked about making this process easy, but so far there is very little evidence of relaxing the restrictions and bureaucracy that puts communities like this at risk.
“As communities move forward to address their specific needs let’s make sure that The Affordable Housing Supply Programme lives up to its title and gives our young people hope for their futures.”
Ronnie MacRae, CHT chief executive, said: “Community-led developments like this are so important in small and rural communities, as they're based on what the community themselves want and need. This mixed use, mixed tenure model is especially useful as if offers communities flexibility for the future.
“We're pleased to be acting as agents for SCT for their homes for affordable rent. The level of interest shows just how much these homes are needed here, and already sets out the need for future work.”
Anybody interested in applying for the SCT houses can apply through the Communities Housing Trust website: www.chtrust.co.uk/current-opportunities or by contacting staff for a hardcopy on 01463 233 548.
The development also includes a new health centre and two business premises which will be advertised soon.
SCT’s project funders include LEADER, the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund and Scottish Land Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the SSE Sustainable Development Fund, Quaker Housing Trust, a crowdfunding campaign and the Ecology Building Society. Highland Council also supported the project to start on site with a significant guarantor loan.