Community builds on new homes plan

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Ronnie McCord at the community garden's strawberry patch 16_T28_Ronnie_dalavich01
Ronnie McCord at the community garden’s strawberry patch

A resourceful community wants to build five new homes to keep it vibrant.

Talks between go-getting members of Dalavich Improvement Group (DIG) and the Forestry Commission were due to take place this week.

They want to identify potential sites for building as a way of making sure their village stays lively.

‘We want to protect people who have a connection here and want to be here,’ said resident and DIG member Agnes Fleming.

Support for the housing, which could be for families or single people, has also come from MSP Michael Russell and Argyll and Bute councillor Elaine Robertson.

The Scottish Government has pledged to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 at a cost of more than £3 billion.

‘We are looking at how we could make those houses much more than homes. For example, include a workshop or some space that would enable people to work from home,’ added Ms Fleming.

The village is already renting out the boathouse, one of its many acquired assets, so a young family can run a boat hire business on Loch Awe.

It also has four fields for use by locals and one has become a vegetable and fruit producing community garden. Among the lush raised beds, it has a pick-your-own strawberry plot to cultivate more funds for the village and was recently given 420 tree saplings, including Birch and Rowans, from the Woodland Trust to help form a wind-break.

It also has a community centre, an art room, a 24-hour laundry, a social club, bar and grill restaurant and live music Fridays. A bid is to be made to build public toilets.

‘We’re on the 78 cycle route so they’d come in handy,’ added Ms Fleming.

The village hub and ‘plotting place’ for projects is the Wild Rowan Cafe and shop, incorporating a Post Office, and run by New Yorker Libby Lowrey who, not surprisingly, is also a DIG member.

In April this year, Dalavich officially opened its £1.5 million community-run hydro scheme which is open to shareholders and is expected to benefit the village by £2 million in the next 20 years by selling hydro electricity to the National Grid.