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Work has started on 12 new houses for affordable rent in Fort Augustus.
Led by Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company, this is a major achievement for a small community organisation.
The project has been in development since 2018 when the community bought The Old Convent land site with support from the Scottish Land Fund.
One of the aims of the purchase was to develop affordable housing to help meet the housing needs of the area.
The project is costing more than £3million and will provide 12 new homes for local families. The development includes two bungalows, four flats and six villas.
The site required substantial groundworks which have significantly added to the budget.
The development would not have been possible without the significant assistance of the
Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund which has contributed £970,000 to the project.
The community has also benefitted from community benefit funds from Stronelairg wind farm and Blairidh wind farm, both managed by SSE renewables.
The Community Company was also successful in a bid to the SSE Renewables Highland
Sustainable Development Fund. The total contribution to the project from the funds
managed by SSE Renewables is in excess of £1.6 million.
Funding has also been received from Falck Renewables Millennium Wind Farm and Fern Community Funds (Beinneun).
‘Unlike many other community groups, we are very fortunate in being able to access match funding for the Rural Housing Fund through monies from SSE Renewables and Falck Renewables, as well as having the experience of running other capital projects,’ said community company chairperson Harry Whiteside.
‘This has allowed us to progress what has been a complex project in a relatively short timescale. Other community groups have to spend much longer trying to put a funding package in place so we know we are fortunate to have such funds.
‘Access to affordable housing is crucial for many rural communities where just a small number of new homes can make a big difference to the viability of the community, but we shouldn’t underestimate how long this can take.’
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart added: ‘This ambitious project shows what a community can achieve when empowered to take local decisions. Supported by almost £1 million from the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, these new homes will help grow and sustain the community as well as providing safe, warm and affordable places to live.
‘We recognise good quality, affordable housing is essential to help attract and retain people in Scotland’s rural and island communities. This parliamentary term, we have committed more than £3.5 billion to deliver our target of 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent.’
The scheme is being built by Compass Building and Construction Services Limited and will be complete by July 21.
The construction site at Fort Augustus, where work has started.
NO F38 sign board