TGDT secures £507,000 to help build affordable homes at former school
The Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust (TGDT) has secured £507,000 from Social Investment Scotland (SIS) to help build affordable housing on the site of the former Tomintoul Secondary School.
In December 2020, the trust completed a deal to buy the school, however, it has now received a £349,750 loan from SIS and a grant of £157,250 from its recently-launched Growth Challenge to help boost the project.
The funding will go towards the development of 12 new homes on the site.
Classrooms in the village were closed over twenty years following a steady drop in pupil numbers. Parts of the complex have been used sporadically by the neighbouring primary school, but the site has been left largely empty for the past 21 years.
A private developer had launched plans to demolish the classrooms, gym and dining room to clear the site for housing. However, it has been reported that the plans failed to attract enough interest to be viable.
A community consultation showed the lack of affordable housing is a key concern for residents, with 82% saying it is a high or very high priority.
A previous feasibility study revealed a waiting list for 39 council-rented properties in Tomintoul.
Eight of the properties will be retained as community-owned dwellings for let, while four properties will be sold on the open market at a discounted rate.
Demolition of the old school was completed in January and the building work is expected to be completed next summer. The project has received financial backing from a range of investors and grant providers, The Press and Journal reports.
Investors include the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and EDF Renewables’ Dorenell Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.
It is also supported through the Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), which will help upgrade energy efficiency measures across the 12 properties.
Tilly Smith, chairwoman of TGDT, said: “Availability of housing in our development area is a significant barrier to population growth and retention, and we know there is strong demand for affordable new homes in the Tomintoul and Glenlivet area.
“The project will bring a dozen new properties to the market, offering a much-needed, long-term solution to help bridge the gap and provide an economic boost.”
Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, added: “Feasibility studies have shown that the demand is high, and these 12 new community-owned homes will provide a welcome boost for the community. We are looking forward to supporting TGDT.”