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Cairngorms regeneration project secures £507,000 for affordable homes in Tomintoul

The Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust (TGDT) has secured the final tranche of funding required to deliver much-needed affordable housing for the local community.

The £507,000 funding package includes £349,750 loan finance from Social Investment Scotland (SIS), in addition to a grant of £157,250 from its recent Growth Challenge, which will go towards the development of 12 new homes on the site of the former Tomintoul secondary school.

Since it was formed in 2012, TGDT has committed to a range of projects seeking to create a sustainable, vibrant future for the area. As part of an extensive community consultation process, the lack of affordable housing was identified as a key concern among local residents, with 82% highlighting it as a high or very high priority area. A previous feasibility study showed a waiting list for 39 council-rented properties in Tomintoul.

More recently, there has also been concern over the impact of short-term holiday lets on the local housing market, with increased holiday accommodation only contributing to the lack of housing for those living and working throughout the Highlands.

The completion of the new affordable housing development will help to unlock additional, sustainable accommodation provision for the community, with eight of the properties being retained as community-owned dwellings for let. Four properties will also be sold on the open market at a discounted rate, supporting other members of the community to get onto the property ladder.

Demolition of the old school building completed in January, with the following building work expected to complete next summer.

In addition to the funding package from SIS, the trust has received financial backing from a range of investors and grant providers including the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and EDF Renewables’ Dorenell Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund. The project is also supported through the Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), which will go towards upgraded energy efficiency measures across the 12 properties.

Tilly Smith, chair of TGDT, said: “Availability of housing in our development area is a significant barrier to population growth and retention, and we know there is strong demand for affordable new homes in the Tomintoul and Glenlivet area. The project will bring a dozen new properties to the market, offering a much-needed, long-term solution to help bridge the gap and provide an economic boost for the area. Securing the latest funding package represents an important step in our wider regeneration plan, contributing to our broader ambition to create a thriving, sustainable community that will attract future generations to live and work here.”

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, said: “The Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust is working hard on an ambitious plan to revive the local community with affordable housing at the core of its plans. Feasibility studies have shown that the demand is high, and these 12 new community-owned homes will provide a welcome boost for the community. We’re pleased to support a project that will have clear benefits, both in the short term for the tenants who move in, and in the longer term, for the economic prospects of the wider area. We are looking forward to supporting TGDT and watching the build progress over the next few months.”

SIS is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Established in 2001, SIS has since invested more than £100m of loan finance in helping community enterprises and social businesses have a positive impact on people’s lives, society and the environment.