TWO new homes, the first of a planned fifteen-strong development funded by Ardkinglas Estate and the Scottish Government’s Rural Homes for Rent scheme, have been completed in Cairndow.
The semi-detached family homes on the beautiful Ardkinglas Estate demonstrate the success of the Rural Homes for Rent grant scheme in allowing private developers and landowners to create housing in the countryside which is built to the highest energy efficiency and spatial standards, often unachievable under the current restrictive guidelines for housing associations. The development also shows the value of the scheme in creating jobs for local contractors, with at least five firms based in and around Argyll benefiting from this opportunity alone.
One of the new tenants, Neil Colburn, commented:
“We are thrilled with our new home which means I can live very close to work and my two daughters can attend the local primary school. A brand new house at an affordable rent is virtually unheard of in remote parts of Argyll and given the strong local industry around here it is even more scarce. Secure longer term lets are almost impossible to come by and fuel costs make living in the nearest town or village unsustainable. We can’t believe our luck and hope others can be as fortunate in the future to benefit from the rural homes for rent scheme”.
Opening the homes, Scottish Land & Estates’ Head of Policy Sarah-Jane Laing, commented:
“The delivery of these homes is testament to the dedication and persistence of David Sumsion, architect and owner of Ardkinglas Estate and his long term commitment to increasing the availability of affordable rented accommodation of the highest quality in this remote area.
“These homes are a direct result of the hard work that Scottish Land & Estates put in to the development of the Rural Homes for Rent scheme. The initiative provides real opportunities for landowners to deliver much needed, quality affordable housing in rural areas. Ardkinglas is a perfect example of what can be achieved. We would now urge the Scottish Government to make more funding available for Rural Homes for Rent grants, as landowners across Scotland are willing to follow the example of Ardkinglas and others to build much needed affordable rural housing.”
It is hoped that the Scottish Government’s pilot scheme will soon be developed into a full programme which will result in many more houses being built in Cairndow and other similar rural areas where the needs of local people are in danger of being pushed aside by the pressures of the holiday home market. However, for the obstacle of high capital costs to be overcome, any future grant scheme will need to recognise the unusual infrastructure and development costs that are often inextricably linked to rural sites.
The next phase of the development, for which services have already been installed, will be three nearby plots for sale on the open market. It is anticipated that future phases will comprise a similar mixture of rented properties and plots for sale.