Pioneering ‘rural homes for rent’ scheme opens in Fife
A new housing development in the East Neuk of Fife, built as part of an affordable housing scheme pioneered by rural landowners, has been opened by minister for housing and welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP.
The Village Green development at Kingsbarns was constructed as part of the ‘Rural Homes for Rent’ pilot scheme that was launched by the Scottish Government and Scottish Land & Estates in 2008.
Under the scheme, rural landowners across Scotland were able to apply for housing grants to help them build new affordable homes for rent on their land. The scheme allows landowners to develop homes which will be privately rented at below market rate for at least 30 years.
The development at Kingsbarns has been built by Cambo Estate and has ten of the twenty two houses available for rent at an affordable rate. The properties are let on the basis of a local lettings initiative that ensures local housing need is met. In addition, potential tenants will also be nominated by Fife Council for an allocation of housing.
Properties are built and managed to a high standard, with the ethos of the scheme to provide high quality affordable housing in small communities whilst delivering value for the public purse. Ten of the remaining units are to be sold on the open market and two are available for sale at an affordable cost.
The Kingsbarns development has also included the creation of a new walled village green which adjoins the primary school, a community vegetable patch and an improved road junction. These elements tie the new homes into the existing village and ensure there are added benefits for the whole community.
The opening of the Kingsbarns development coincides with the launch earlier this week of Scottish Land & Estates’ Helping It Happen campaign which aims to highlight the positive work that landowners are engaged with across a range of sectors whilst encouraging everyone to strive to deliver even more benefits for rural Scotland.
Cambo Estate owner, Sir Peter Erskine, said: “We are delighted to open the new Kingsbarns development which we hope will help the local community to thrive. Every rural community needs new families who are keen to come and play their part in local life and we believe these homes will provide an opportunity to help to achieve this.
“The Rural Homes for Rent Scheme is a terrific partnership initiative that allows landowners and government to work hand-in-hand to provide real benefit to rural communities. In our case, the high quality development that has been opened today will provide homes where families can create lasting memories and it is wonderful that this partnership can assist in creating that.
“We were delighted that the Minister could join us today to celebrate the completion of the houses alongside the new village green which will be a significant community resource. We hope that the new residents in the village will encourage businesses to come to the area and may also lead to a second teacher being secured for Kingsbarns Primary School.”
Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Housing is a priority for this Government as we believe everyone in Scotland deserves to live in good quality affordable homes, but we recognise rural communities can often face difficulties accessing housing.
“That’s why I am delighted to visit these ten new affordable homes in Kingsbarns, which have received £677,000 of funding from the Scottish Government.
“This pilot scheme is an example of how landowners can contribute to the provision of much needed affordable housing in rural areas, bringing in new families and enhancing the economic vitality of the village.”
Sarah-Jane Laing, director of parliamentary affairs at Scottish Land & Estates, added: “The Kingsbarns development is a wonderful example of how landowners and government can work together and we are delighted that the Minister was able to see how private estates can effectively deliver affordable homes in rural areas.
“The scheme has been a successful pilot and we hope similar programmes to Rural Homes for Rent will be rolled out by the Scottish Government even more widely to enable us to help rural communities to grow and thrive.”