Funding secured for ‘much-needed’ affordable island homes on Colonsay

A community development company has completed the purchase of land to provide affordable homes on the island of Colonsay.

Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC), which was formed in 2000 to oversee the continued development of the island, and had long planned to deliver homes in Scalasaig. 

Having already secured £375,000 in funding from the Scottish Land Fund, CCDC secured an additional £28,900 from Argyle and Bute Council’s Strategic Housing Fund following approval from the council’s business continuity committee.

Assistance was also provided by Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Mowi.

Having had positive discussions Colonsay Estate to purchase land to purchase the land, CCDC’s plan is for six affordable housing units in the first phase of its development – three for rent and three for low-cost home ownership. There will also be three affordable self-build plots.

The low cost home ownership and the self-build plots will have a rural housing burden attached to ensure that the housing remains affordable when sold.

This development will complement the West Highland Housing Association plan to build five affordable houses at Lower Kilchatten.

A CCDC spokesperson said: “This has been many years in the making and many people from our community have contributed both time and effort to work to secure the land that we have so desperately needed for so long. It is fantastic to be able to have got to this point and we would like to thank all that have been involved over the years.

“It is also great to have the support of many people outside of our local community who recognise the difficulties that Colonsay faces and it has been critical to our success to have the expertise of the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust at our side providing guidance and advice throughout. We also thank our solicitor Calum MacLeod from Harper MacLeod for taking us through the conveyancing process and generously discounting his rates and time spent.

“We especially need to thank Highlands & Islands Enterprise for their continued support over the years and financial contribution and to the Scottish Land Fund for agreeing to fund a substantial part of the purchase price.”

Helen Bain, senior development manager at HIE, said: “This is fantastic news. Ownership of the land will enable much-needed affordable homes to be built, which is vital for the sustainability of Colonsay and will benefit the wider community.”

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund chair, added: “The Scottish Land Fund awarded Colonsay Community Development Company £390,000 to purchase land on which to build much-needed affordable homes and business units. We knew then that this was a community filled with passion and pride intent on sustaining and protecting their island for local people and generations to come. So, it’s fantastic to hear that their hard work has come to fruition and that this land is now in the hands of the local community.”

The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust added its congratulations: “The patience, dedication and hard work of the community is to be celebrated as they look forward to delivering a range of housing options and new business units, that will strengthen the community for years to come. We strongly support communities taking control of their futures and working to provide the necessary accommodation to meet their needs and look forward to continuing working with CCDC on the development of the houses and business units.”

Councillor Robin Currie, Argyll and Bute’s policy lead for housing, roads and infrastructure services, said: “Argyll and Bute’s economic future is based on growing its population. Affordable housing, particularly on our islands, is key to that.

“That’s why we’re delighted to support a community-led initiative that provides exactly what the island needs – housing that will encourage people to stay on the island or attract new families and businesses. The development will also provide new job opportunities through construction, stimulating the local economy further.”

Following a detailed tendering exercise, TSL has been selected as the preferred design & build contractor.

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