Community-owned houses in Skye near completion

The new development at Taighean a’ Chaiseil, in Stenscholl.

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Applications for new community-owned homes in Skye are now open, ahead of welcoming the first tenants in the autumn.

Staffin Community Trust (SCT) announced last week that applications for the three-bedroom homes at its new development Taighean a’ Chaiseil, in Stenscholl are now welcomed. There will be a focus on families and people with connections to Staffin.

It comes 22 years after the last affordable houses were built in Staffin.

SCT has worked in partnership with the Communities Housing Trust (CHT) and
Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association (LSHA) since 2014. The project is designed
to provide new housing for families and young people priced out of the island’s
property market.

Each organisation has built two houses each. SCT’s houses will be for an affordable
monthly rent.

Taighean a’ Chaiseil will be completed later this year by James MacQueen Building
Contractors Ltd. The houses have been attractively designed by island architects
Rural Design and their energy efficiency will ensure low energy bills for tenants.

SCT has had 27 expressions of interest in the development to date, highlighting the
significant demand for housing in north-east Skye. The new homes will help
towards community sustainability after an alarming population decline and falling
primary school roll in the last decade.

To avoid any potential conflict of interest in managing the allocation of the new
homes, the SCT board and staff will not be involved in the process. SCT’s agents, CHT, will manage that process by using an Allocations Policy designed to support its aims of delivering quality housing locally.

CHT is a vastly experienced housing enabler having worked with rural communities
across the Highlands and Islands for three decades. It is currently processing
applications for its own two houses at the site, which are for discounted sale.

Staffin Community Trust director Donald MacDonald said: ‘The demand shown so
far for the housing, reflects the need within this community but it’s extremely
frustrating that it takes seven years of constant battling against the system to
build what is only a fraction of what is needed.

‘For years government and councils have talked about making this process easy, but so far there is very little evidence of relaxing the restrictions and bureaucracy that puts communities like this at risk.

‘As communities move forward to address their specific needs let’s make sure that
The Affordable Housing Supply Programme lives up to its title and gives our young
people hope for their futures.’

Anybody interested in applying for the SCT houses can apply through the
Communities Housing Trust website: www.chtrust.co.uk/current-opportunities or
by contacting staff for a hardcopy on 01463 233548.