Funding for community-owned affordable homes plan in Scourie
Scourie Community Development Company (SCDC) has received £20,000 from The Highland Council to take forward plans to build eight affordable homes on community-owned land.
The project, led by SCDC with support from the Communities Housing Trust, also received £15,000 in feasibility funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural & Islands Housing Fund.
The new funding will allow SCDC to appoint architect Iain Livesley to develop plans and Fairhurst engineers to undertake all necessary work to bring the project to planning permission stage.
SCDC secured funding to buy around 2.85 acres of land near the primary school from Scourie Estate in 2022 with support from the Scottish Land Fund.
The project follows a survey on housing need in 2021 by the Communities Housing Trust on behalf of SCDC, which showed high demand for affordable homes. In particular, businesses are struggling to house staff, impacting on the local economy.
Planning permission is now required for up to 18 affordable homes, two commercial work units and the infrastructure for the whole project. The first phase will include eight affordable homes of different sizes and tenures, and will prioritise people with a need to live or work in the area. The site is currently common grazings and Scourie Estate will apply to the Land Court for change of use, following the granting of planning permission, with the support of Scourie Estate and the Scourie and Badcall crofters.
A possible future phase providing up to 10 further homes of mixed tenures, including private and affordable homes, will also see wide benefits for the whole community.
Neil Macdonald, chair of SCDC, said: “Our small communities really need to be able to attract people to fill jobs in the area, and also to secure our schools and services. This is just part of the bigger picture in trying to arrest depopulation across the North West of Scotland.”
Ronnie MacRae, CEO of Communities Housing Trust, said: “We’re delighted to continue working with SCDC to help provide these much-needed affordable homes, which will be protected for people with a need to live or work in the area. The homes will bring wider social and economic benefits too. Community-led homes are crucial for small, rural communities as they respond to an areas specific needs, and we’re looking forward to helping progress the project in Scourie.”