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Community-owned homes delivered in Fort Augustus

November 3 2021

Community-owned homes delivered in Fort Augustus

Kearney Donald Partnership, acting on behalf of Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company (FAGCC), have delivered 12 new homes for local families as part of a redevelopment of the Glebe area of Fort Augustus.

The £3m social housing initiative near Loch Ness opened in late October and boasts the latest green energy technology including air source heating and locally sourced stone from an adjacent borrow pit. Incorporating cycle stands to encourage active travel the landscaped grounds have been planted with over 500 trees and shrubs including fruit trees and soft fruit bushes.

FAGCC chair Harry Whiteside said: “Good quality, affordable housing is essential to help attract and retain people in Scotland’s remote and rural communities, so it is fantastic we have been able to complete this project of 12 homes to such a great standard, and with sustainability in mind. We are very grateful for all of the generous support from our funders which has enabled us to invest locally.”

The development was made possible by a £150k loan from the Bank of Scotland with remaining capital provided by the Scottish Government, SSE Renewables and wind farm community benefit funds.

Photography by Linda Aitken

The homes have been built on an open field towards the southern end of Fort Augustus
The homes have been built on an open field towards the southern end of Fort Augustus


Nairn's Bairn
#1 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 3 Nov 2021 at 12:37 PM
The key thing here is 'affordable housing', something very lacking in the West Highlands.

There can be no pertinent comment made on the architecture or landscaping, it's all about putting roofs over peoples heads and in this age of holiday lets, second homes and resulting astronomical house/land prices it's essential work - well done to all involved.
#2 Posted by monkey9000 on 3 Nov 2021 at 13:03 PM
Shocking sea of asphalt on show here. Putting roofs over peoples heads does not negate good design and environmental principles.
#3 Posted by David on 3 Nov 2021 at 13:10 PM
So affordable housing design doesn't need any form of landscaping, is that what you're saying?
#4 Posted by Malandro1966 on 3 Nov 2021 at 13:12 PM
#1 yeah okay....but that picnic table on the 'island' is surely someone's idea of a joke???
Nairn's Bairn
#5 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 3 Nov 2021 at 14:06 PM
#2, #3, #4 I know - the article does say there have been 500 trees/shrubs planted as part of the development so I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and say 'bad photos' rather than 'bad scheme'.

That picnic table is not ideal though!
#6 Posted by David on 3 Nov 2021 at 14:15 PM
I read that too Nairn's Bairn, but the photos don't lie...
Hamish Ashcroft
#7 Posted by Hamish Ashcroft on 3 Nov 2021 at 19:04 PM
Parts of this are great! Communities doing stuff like this is something that is awesome and should be happening far far more! Affordable housing is also greatly needed in this part of the country. However, can’t wait to show that first pic to my landscape architecture tutor, there is gonna be tears involved
#8 Posted by modernish on 3 Nov 2021 at 20:54 PM
@#1 - don't be ridiculous. Comments on the design, or lack of it, are entirely welcome. If it was simply a case of 'roofs over people heads' then it could have been done for a hang of a lot cheaper than £250k a pop. If it was only a case of putting roofs over people heads they could have looked at a higher density scheme (maybe a couple of terraces) to let a few more heads get under.
Nairn's Bairn
#9 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 4 Nov 2021 at 06:20 AM
#8 The scheme does include flats and semi detached houses, and its a semi-rural area where terraces may not be appropriate, but you're right, it is an expensive scheme. Looking at the plans, 998 square metres of accommodation is provided which works out at £3K per square metre, almost double what it could cost. Perhaps this includes a costly land purchase? New adopted roads and services are also expensive.

Who knows - as always with these things we're commenting without knowing the project history but I think any affordable rentable new houses, as long as they're well built, are generally welcome in the Highlands. Architecturally they may just be boxes, and the rural location means car parking is required hence the grey landscape, but I'm sure those families moving out of temporary accommodation or their mothers spare room won't care.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#10 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 4 Nov 2021 at 08:59 AM
Beyond the eye watering build economics / the phoned in design vibe / the shocking layout you have the issue of ownership and control -- local politics neo con style.

All based around a "community company" tacked on to the community council rather than larger or more regular political structures.

FA seems to be all about local politics for local worthies -- a place where seasonal contracts are the norm and the NHS services are provided from a company owned building.

Consequently not the New Jerusalem regarding the progressive delivery of local services more a case that renewables funds are being used very selectively and very locally and tough if you live the wrong side of a line.

To think that Scotland -- 50 years ago -- had to invent "regionalisation" to fix all the problems of hyper localism in rural and not so rural Scotland.

What we forget we have to fix time after time after time as the local worthies fill up the local papers with complaints.

Community companies -- worth a watching.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#11 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 4 Nov 2021 at 09:12 AM
What are the rent level for these houses?
What are the criteria for getting a tenancy?
And where does the rent money go?

And what will it be used for?
Grants seem to have built the houses.

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