New homes needed fast to stop depopulation
PLANS for ‘urgently needed’ affordable homes on Skye have been lodged with the Highland Council.
A planning application seeking consent to build six new three-bedroom homes in Staffin is being considered by the local authority.
This will be the first housing development on the north of the island in 18 years, and comes following a significant population decline and shrinking primary school roll in Staffin.
An economic report by the Staffin Community Trust (SCT) last year showed a 6.6 per cent drop in population between 2009 and 2013, from 608 residents to 568.
The council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise conducted a major affordable housing needs survey in the area which identified new homes as a way to retain and attract families and young people.
Meanwhile, the population in Portree, 17 miles south of Staffin, has seen a growth of 11 per cent in the past decade following a significant number of affordable homes being built.
SCT has already received a number of expressions of interest in the new homes from families.
The six houses would be set on common grazings tenanted by the Stenscholl crofting township in Staffin.
SCT is working in partnership with the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust and Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association to deliver the new properties, which would be the first built in Staffin since 1999.
Development of the land near Staffin Primary School would include a building for business units and a storage facility.
Plans were designed by Rural Design Architects following a community consultation event, and submitted by the community council on behalf of residents.
Feasibility work and planning was funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund (RHF) and the Scottish Land Fund, which are designed to help communities tackle challenges like housing.
MSPs Kate Forbes, for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, have expressed support for the development.