Community Housing Project
To register your interest in housing opportunities at Station Road, please contact the communities housing trust firstname.lastname@example.org
We will adopt the allocations policy developed by Communities Housing Trust, this will be reviewed again before applications are open.
Work begins at Station Road for new housing
Project Update 30/10/22
After almost 2 years, Arisaig Community Trust have secured full planning permission for 6 houses to be built at Station Road, part of our affordable housing development. Along with the building warrant, awarded earlier in the year, the majority of consents are now in place for the project and work will soon be getting underway. This is a great milestone and we are delighted to reach this point.
The housing development climate is currently challenging – rising inflation, covid, Brexit and the Ukraine War, have created instability in supply chains and increased demand for materials. Additionally, rural areas have experienced reverse migration: as home working encouraged moves from cities to rural areas, accessing an affordable home becomes harder for those living and working in Arisaig and other rural locations.
The Rural Housing Fund – a lifeline source of Government funding for rural communities – has provided an uplift on our original grant to help meet rising costs. The project will be delivered with a mix of public, private and loan funding, with the sale of 4 self-build plots adding vital capital to the pot.
The design and engineering teams with S + K MacDonald Homes have been tremendous over the last 2 years. The Highland Council planning and roads departments deal with large volumes of applications, thus approvals have taken longer than anticipated. While frustrating at times, the outcome has been positive.
Our Planning conditions required that we pay over £6,000 in developer contributions – a mechanism for the local authority to fund key services and infrastructure. In our case, the worthy recipient of the payment is Mallaig Pool & Leisure.
Final preparations are being worked through to get on site as soon as possible. The first phase of the project will see 6 new homes and an access road built at Station Road. This will be the most disruptive part of the project and those in the area will unfortunately see increased traffic and heavy excavation machinery on site.
In tandem, applications for Planning in Principle will be submitted for 4 self-build plots. Once approved, these will be marketed for sale at affordable levels with application and allocation details publicised well in advance, managed by the Communities Housing Trust. CHT have worked with us to co-ordinate all the major steps to date. They act as development agent to support community groups with housing projects, funding applications and professional representation at local and government levels.
Official applications are not yet formally open for either the rental homes or self-build plots, but you can indicate an initial interest with us at: email@example.com
In the meantime, we are asking the local and wider community for their input on naming the new street at Station Road. Guidance on street naming is on the Highland Council website and we welcome suggestions that would include locally significant place names, plants, trees, people or landmarks, along with the suffixes of Street, Road, Way, Grove, Avenue, Brae, Close, Gardens etc. One name that has been put forward to the ACT Board of Directors is the late Monsignor Thomas Wynne, who made a significant contribution to housing provision in the area; all suggestions will be given consideration and the most popular will go to a public poll and be submitted to the Highland Council for approval. Please email or message us on facebook with your ideas!
Project Update 10/1/22
A milestone moment was reached in December, after almost 3 years of negotiations, to finally conclude the purchase of the land at Station Road for ACT’s housing project. Although there were several major setbacks in 2021, these were resolved and credit goes to Gary Somers, at MacPhee and Partners, for navigating us through this. Thanks are also extended to all our team working on this project: Communities Housing Trust, S&K MacDonald, the design team at Kearney Donald Architects and McColm Engineering and our legal team at MacPhee and Partners.
Our contractor for the project, S&K MacDonald Homes, are now steadily working through the planning process and we very much hope that in the Spring, we will be in a position to publish full details of the site plans along with information about how to apply for both the rental and self-build options available.
Project Update – 12/7/21
We are still travelling the bumpy road to land ownership at Station Road. After a significant setback in March, we have been negotiating with a third party to acquire the areas needed for the development. A small area of the land in question was bought by Transport Scotland as part of the new road development in 2000 and we are now in the process of purchasing it from them. Fortunately, the Scottish Land Fund have been very flexible and have given us time to complete the sale instead of having to re-apply for our original grant. It has been a major hurdle in the project and we hope it can be resolved soon.
In tandem, our development team and contractor have been trying to gain planning approval for the 6 rental homes to be built. This has also been complex because of the need to have the access road adopted by the Highland Council; drainage, road dimensions and other details were needed and all additional information has been submitted to the planning department. We are awaiting an update on whether it will be approved.
At the moment, there is concern about the cost of building materials across the country and we hope that the silver lining of these delays means that when we come to buying materials, the prices will have stabilised again.
Some further approvals are still needed but we are inching ever closer!
A bumpy road to community land ownership 9/3/21
Having been awarded funds from the Scottish Land Fund in 2019, we have been pursuing the purchase of a 2 acre site for our community housing development. The sellers have always indicated they were willing to sell to us and our legal teams have been working on the details for over 14 months. At the very last moment some new information came to light showing the land boundaries to be different from all the previously examined documents. How frustrating for everyone involved! We now have to acquire an extra area as it will be needed for the new access road. With over £1m in public funds pledged to this project, we really want to make sure it goes ahead and are working hard behind the scenes to get it resolved.
Thankfully, alongside this awkward development, our contractor S&K MacDonald Homes has been working diligently to get planning approval and building warrants in place for the six rental houses to be built. We hope to have more positive news soon.
Thank you to those who have already submitted an expression of interest for the four self-build plots. The demand for houses and building plots in this area is exceptionally high and we hope that all the relevant public bodies will support us in delivering this much needed project.
Funding announcement 8/12/20
ACT are delighted to announce that we have secured a grant of £782,034 from the Rural Housing Fund. This will contribute to about 75% of our total project costs for servicing the site and building six homes for rent.
Project Update 9/11/20
A planning application to the Highland Council has been submitted for the six homes to be built for affordable rent. These will be owned by ACT and managed by the Communities Housing Trust, who will also manage allocations.
There are three blocks, each with a 2-bed and 3-bed house, forming a small courtyard on the South side of the site. A new access road and pavement will be built, joining to Station Road.
Click on the buttons opposite to see the floor plans, elevations, site layout and the design statement.
The houses were designed by Kearney Donald Partnership, Fort William, who were commissioned to carry out the work by S&K MacDonald Homes, of Acharacle.
Back in February, we selected S&K MacDonald as the preferred contractor for this project after a successful tender. Since then, we have been working towards officially awarding the contract to them and the planning application is a major step forward.
We are putting together the final pieces of funding to finance the build of these new homes, along with four self-build plots, which will be sited to the North of the houses.
The four self-build plots did not form part of this planning application; they will be between 0.18-0.2 acres and more details on these will be announced soon.
Pamela King, Project Officer
With funding from the Scottish Land Fund and the Rural Housing Fund, we undertook a feasibility study with Highland Small Communities Housing Trust and Sam Foster Architects to look at an area of land that’s currently for sale for a potential housing project. Between 6 and 12 houses could be developed on the site with a range of tenures to meet local need, identified in our housing needs survey in 2018. Following the feasibility study, we applied to the Scottish Land Fund in 2019 to purchase the plot and were successfully awarded £234,400. This funding will cover the purchase of the land, legal fees and a Project Officer post.
In 2019 we held two open consultation days, in April and June, to gather people’s views and priorities for the project, led by Sam Foster Architects. The design team then came up with some suggested housing and site plans. The final designs will be put together by the contractor undertaking the build and the feedback from the community has formed part of the project brief.
In early 2020 the project went out for tender as a Design & Build. There were three responses and from these we selected our preferred contractor. Over the summer and during the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have worked with the preferred contractor to establish the final designs, site plan and project costs. The last piece of the puzzle is bringing together all our funding, submitting our planning application and formally awarding the contract. At the same time, we have been working to complete the purchase of the housing site at Station Road.
The Communities Housing Trust have continued to partner with us throughout the development and will act as project managers when building works commence.