AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONS FOR LOCAL FAMILIES
New Families Welcomed!
The Ulva Ferry community have welcomed two new families who have moved into the first designated affordable rental housing to be built in the area for decades. Just six years ago, the community was under threat of losing its primary school due to long-term population decline brought about by the lack of affordable housing options for young people. Now, these families bring six children to the area, cementing Ulva Ferry’s future sustainability.
1 & 2 Sealladh Loch Tuath were officially opened by Michael Russell, MSP on Saturday 18th November 2017. The occasion was an opportunity to thank our funders and supporters, as well as community members, for their support in making the project happen. The day was rounded off with a traditional USCA Ceilidh at Ulva Primary School.
Photo credit: Carolyne Charington
Why Have We Built Affordable Houses at Ulva Ferry?
The Ulva Ferry area on the Isle of Mull (from Torloisk to Kellan and encompassing the Isles of Ulva and Gometra), includes some of the most stunning land and seascapes in the UK and the area is a designated National Scenic Area. It has a rich social history, not least as Lachlan Macquarie, the ‘father of Australia’ was born on Ulva.
The area has suffered from being geographically isolated with few affordable housing options for local people, especially young families, and the local school was threatened with closure in 2010. The Housing Project follows the successful campaign by Ulva School Community Association (USCA) to keep Ulva School open. A subsequent community consultation identified affordable housing as a top priority for the area, and now, after extensive community consultation, two three-bedroom houses have been built next to the School, occupied by local families. By providing secure, affordable houses there will be many wider social and economic benefits for this fragile community as local people can continue to live, work and go to school in the area. The houses have been designed by local practice, Thorne Wyness Architects, and built by Mull firm, Norman MacDonald Builders. Construction took just nine months and was completed on budget.
What is MICT’s Involvement?
Mull and Iona Community Trust are supporting USCA in the project, as anchor organisation; MICT have employed the Housing Project Manager and will take on the long term responsibilities of owning and renting the two houses.
Community Led, Community Owned
The local community have been at the heart of the Project from the outset: from choosing the architect and finalising the design, to agreeing the Allocation Policy. Community-led housing projects are never the easy option, but the completion of these houses is testament to the dedication of local community members and the project team.
Innovative Design, Affordable Tenancies
The Architects’ innovative ‘passive house’ standard design uses a cross-laminated timber frame, a mechanical heat recovery system, and triple glazed windows: creating a superbly well-insulated home for tenants, who will pay less than £350 a YEAR in heating bills, greatly alleviating fuel poverty which is so prevalent in rural west coast Scotland. Along with secure, mid-market rents these homes will be very affordable to live in.
Funding Package & Support
The Housing Project has been funded by the Scottish Land Fund, Argyll & Bute Council, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Quaker Housing Trust, the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, Triodos Bank, USCA, a significant anonymous bequest and over £22,500 in local donations through a high-profile crowdfunding campaign. We are also very grateful to Rural Housing Scotland, Community Land Scotland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise for all their support along the way.
MICT is a registered private landlord (Registration Number: 433596/130/01531) and is working towards Landlord Accreditation status, as we aim to provide the highest standards possible. We are a member of the Scottish Association of Landlords, who offer training, advice and resources. West Highland Housing Association have also provided invaluable financial, allocations and landlord advice and continue to support us by providing out-of-hours management.
With significant interest in these houses, we are now exploring the feasibility of further affordable housing developments, and are carrying out community consultation locally.
Want to Find Out More?
Now that the houses are complete and occupied, they are not available for viewing, but we are always happy to share details of the project with other community groups. Contact Helen MacDonald at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01680 812 900.