Final Appendix - DGSCHT - Finding Request

Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust
Request to Dumfries and Galloway Council for Further Funding – Realising
Affordable Rural Homes Project
The Realising Affordable Rural Homes project (RAHR) has been running, in its
current form, for two years (May 2015) and over that period significant progress has
been made in terms of supporting communities who wish to appraise and seek to
intervene in local housing issues.
The Council are being asked to provide match funding to that already granted by the
Robertson Trust in order to allow the RARH programme to continue for a further year
via ongoing salary to the in-post Project Officer. The sum that is requested is
£16,100, with £16,100 already committed by Robertson Trust, conditional upon
attaining match funding from DGC.
The Scottish Government are currently supporting and developing a country-wide
Rural Housing Initiative. This is currently being developed in consultation with the
Rural Housing Partnership (Rural Housing Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Small
Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT) and the Highlands Small Communities
Housing Trust). Policy being developed around the Rural Housing Initiative will be
oriented towards working directly with communities to address rural housing issues,
shortfall of specific tenures and community-led solutions. The work currently being
undertaken by the RARH project is well positioned to both lead on and take
advantage of this political support.
The report below outlines progress to date with the RARH project:
Realising Affordable Rural Homes Project
Since RAHR was re-commenced in May 2013, the primary focus has been as
 Re-engagement with specific communities who had previously indicated an
interest in engagement with housing projects and initial engagement with a
number of new communities;
 Initial development of specific projects with those communities who are in a
position (from a financial, structural and governance perspective) to consider
routes to and options for delivery;
 Assessment of a range of housing options that may be applied to D&G rural
communities, relative to tenure (private sale, self-build, co-housing, private
rental, affordable rental) and funding (in particular wind-farm contributions,
Scottish Land Fund, mortgage borrowing by community groups, Rural
Housing Burden / planning conditions) and more creative rental structures, for
example long-term secured maintenance leases on redundant residential
Whilst RAHR is specifically a community housing-led project, it has also sought to
broaden the approach in a manner that sets overall goals within the wider context of
community regeneration, and a wider agenda of community resilience and
sustainability. Often, in consideration of a community development plan, housing
issues are not taken into account. Our survey work consistently demonstrates a lack
of suitable and affordable housing for working younger people, older people and
families and, in particular, housing for rent. Therefore, the provision of the right
types of housing contributes to the sustainability of a community, but also its long
term interests in terms of retaining economically active residents.
Community ownership of housing also has the potential to contribute to the financial
sustainability of a Community Development Trust. Whilst borrowing may be involved
initially, it provides the community with a source of income, in the long term, which
can be reinvested in other community-oriented projects. During the course of the
RARH project we have established relationships with ethical lenders, for example the
Charity Bank or Triodos, who are actively seeking to engage with and loan to
community groups at long-term fixed rates of interest.
RARH is currently engaged with a range of communities across the region. In each
of the communities, the project officer is working with the relevant body to actively
consider and appraise all potential housing sites. In practice, the approach of the
project has been such that communities have also wished to appraise existing
properties (in some cases, properties that have remained for open market sale for
sustained periods of time) or projects have been opportunistic, reacting to specific
development opportunities that provide an option for community ownership (either in
partnership with private developers or Registered Social Landlords).
A summary of current engagement with specific communities is provided below:
The community of Closeburn has made significant progress in respect of a
community-led housing project and here the RAHR project has developed a key
funding and delivery model. This has now led to their Community Development
Trust taking ownership of a new-build private unit which has now been rented to a
member of the local community. A case study based upon the delivery model has
been developed to be promoted across the region and utilised and/or adapted for
other small communities.
The second phase of a new housing development in Closeburn is nearing
completion, the first phase having been entirely affordable units in the ownership of
Loreburn Housing Association. One of these units for private sale was to be sold at
38% below market value as a result of planning condition. RARH worked with the
local Community Development Trust - Nith Valley Leaf Trust – to consider local
housing need and develop a means and funding model to purchase this property.
RARH supported this process throughout project development, conclusion of all
missives and all work leading towards the local trust becoming a registered landlord.
A further 3 properties have been sold (at 15% below market value, again as a
planning condition) to members of the local community who satisfied specific
affordability criteria. DGSCHT marketed these properties and found the buyers.
The sale of the house to the Community Development Trust now having concluded,
this represents the first house in Scotland to be developed in Scotland via the use of
windfarm funds in conjunction with borrowing (with mortgage repaid from rental
incomes). For DGSCHT, this represents an important precedent that can be used to
establish best practice for other communities throughout the region, and indeed
further afield. In this case the borrowing has been provided by the Charity Aid
The RARH Project Officer assisted the community in the process of marketing the
property, identification and allocation of a suitable tenant (development of forms and
information sheets and engagement in the allocation process), registering as a
landlord, finalising lease and deposit registration arrangements and an ongoing
management and factoring regime.
Further to this, the overall experience has now given the community the appetite and
confidence to pursue further housing in their ownership and site options are currently
being appraised, alongside ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Land Fund.
The village of Moniaive established a Community Development Trust at the tail end
of 2013, a process supported by RAHR, assisting their model and engagement with
the Development Trust Association Scotland. Moniaive Initiative has also been
extremely active in respect of housing proposals and successful in attaining funding
to appraise options for community housing / community engagement.
Moniaive are appraising housing from two angles:
Village Centre Regeneration – the core of the village contains a number of
empty properties that are having a negative impact upon the physical fabric of the
High Street. The Initiative are being supported in an appraisal of these properties,
inclusive of housing options.
Housing for the Elderly – community engagement has indicated overwhelming
support for the provision of more suitable accommodation for the elderly. A project
team has been established to develop this project further. A site has been identified
and conversations are ongoing with the Scottish Land Fund.
In the development of these project proposals, and with the support of RARH,
Moniaive Initiative has secured funding from the following sources:
Scottish Government Learning Networks Challenge Fund;
Big Lottery Fund – Investing In Ideas;
Development Trust Association Scotland – Town Centre Regeneration Fund.
The Learning Networks Challenge Fund has allowed the community to hold a
number of workshops around housing issues, each of which RARH helped to
facilitate. This approach has strengthened the level of community consultation
around housing issues.
Engagement with Moffat has been ongoing over the course of the two year period.
RARH has provided support around a number of issues, and a Housing sub-group of
the Community Council is now being established, with a particular eye on providing
input to DGHP’s emerging plans for the former Moffat Academy site. This group will
meet on a regular basis in order to ensure ongoing discussion and action around:
The Academy site and engagement with DGHP;
Local Development Plan sites;
The possible formation of a Community Development Trust to consider housing
and windfarm funds.
In addition, RARH is also engaged with the private owner of the major housing site
identified within the Local Development Plan to consider affordable housing
allocation and engagement with the local community.
Engagement with a number of groups and landowners Langholm has also been
ongoing for the duration of the RARH project. Currently, support is being given to
the Langholm Initiative as they seek to bid to the Scottish Land Fund on one or two
sites with a view to developing a community housing project.
Initial proposals relate to the two sites to the Southeast of the town, both of which are
owned by the same private developer. One previously had consent for a care home,
the other for 25 flatted homes intended for older residents. The Initiative are
attempting to negotiate with the landowner to purchase the sites and are already
working with the Scottish Land Fund. Thereafter their aspiration is to develop
housing for older people, in the ownership of the community trust. Whilst the project
will require to be fully appraised, this is likely to involve either a smaller number of
units that the Initiative themselves can source funding for, or a larger number of units
delivered in partnership. RARH is supporting project development and, currently,
application for some initial feasibility funding. A housing needs survey is also being
carried out.
RARH is currently supporting the Development Trust in Eskdalemuir through a joint
bid to the National Forest Land Scheme and the Scottish Land Fund for a piece of
forestry land, currently at the heart of a small building group. It is the intention of the
community to develop proposals for housing in the ownership of the development
Following an expression of interest in late 2014, they have (along with the Forestry
Commission) instructed a joint valuation of the site and are working towards a
deadline to submit their application and business plan to the Scheme. The purchase
of the site, albeit via the Forest Land Scheme, will require to be funded by the
Scottish Land Fund. RARH is supporting the process of an “Investing In Ideas” bid
to appraise the site conditions and consider initial design work. A housing survey is
also being carried out to support the community’s evidence base in their application
to the Land Fund.
The site itself currently has planning consent for two individual housing plots, but
potentially could support up to four houses. In addition, it is inclusive of a former
steading that the community believe could be redeveloped either for residential
purposes or as a bunk house to support local tourism.
Kelloholm / Kirkconnel
Since 2014, RARH has been supporting the Board of the emerging Community
Development Trust for Kirconnel and Kelloholm. Their Community Plan (produced
with the support of the Coalfields Regeneration Fund) has already identified housing
as a key priority. We have started to appraise sites, and community representatives
have attended workshops run by RARH.
The community remain in the process of establishing their (SCIO) development trust.
Once the Trust is established, they intend to proceed with an Investing In Ideas bid
to examine site-specific proposals in greater detail and RARH will fully support this
process. A detailed Housing Needs Survey has already been carried out for these
communities by DGSCHT in 2014.
Glenluce / New Luce
Initial engagement has taken place with both these communities. Local elected
member, Councillor McClung has engaged proactively with the RARH officer in order
to encourage development of community-led housing proposals in each community,
designed up capitalise upon current levels of windfarm benefit monies. This process
will be ongoing in 2015.
In addition, RARH were asked by the Community Council to provide support in terms
of engagement with DGHP relative to a former hotel site acquired by the RSL and
scheduled for redevelopment in 2016.
Stakeholder Engagement
In addition to working alongside specific rural communities, RARH has engaged with:
Galloway Cohousing Group and, more broadly, with the Cohousing UK support
network and the Lilac Cohousing development (fully delivered) in Leeds.
The Empty Homes Officer employed by Shelter / Dumfries and Galloway
Community-led housing developments in Cumbria and the passive houses at
Dormont Estate and arranged a project visit to the Highland and Islands Small
Communities Housing Trust.
Scottish Land Fund advisors.
Development Trust Association Scotland; and;
Scottish Government Rural Housing Initiative.
Dumfries and Galloway Community Housing Learning Network
In November 2014, RARH was awarded Scottish Government funding to establish a
learning network around community-housing across the region, whilst also gathering
qualitative and best practice data on community housing in Dumfries and Galloway
and further afield. This initial funding required to be committed by 31 March 2015,
but has resulted in the formation of a group of communities who will now continue to
meet and share information as projects develop.
RARH has now held two extremely well attended workshops and a study visit.
Workshop One:
The first workshop focussed on a Case Study of the Closeburn project and was
facilitated by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Nith Valley Leaf Trust. It was attended
by representatives from Eskdalemuir, Glenluce / New Luce, Kirkconnel / Kelloholm,
Moniaive and D&G LEADER programme.
Workshop Two:
The second workshop was focussed on the Scottish Land Fund, this having been a
topic that had been raised throughout the course of discussion at Workshop One. It
was facilitated by Catherine Francis of Highlands and Islands Enterprise / the Land
Fund and was attended by representatives from Langholm, Moniaive, Glenluce /
New Luce, Kirconnel / Kelloholm, the Galloway Co-housing Group and D&G
LEADER programme.
Study Visit:
With the support of the Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, the group visited two delivered
community housing projects:
 Keswick Community Housing Trust (delivered 11 homes for rent in
community ownership, and now project planning a further 25 on a
second site).
 Lyvennet Community Development Trust (delivered community
ownership of 10 homes for rent and 2 for shared ownership, along with a
further 8 serviced plots for self-build.
Information Sharing:
In addition to bringing together communities in, what has become, an ongoing
information sharing and support group (particularly for those communities who are all
at the outset of project planning), RARH is providing an online resource for
dissemination of information from the workshops, the study visit and best practice
from elsewhere. A website is currently being established –
RARH Funding Request for 2015/16
DGSCHT are requesting one year of project funding from the Council of £16,100,
with match funding already committed from the Robertson Trust for the same period.
This funding would be broken down as follows:
Year 3
Projected Expenditure
Gross Salaries, NI, Pensions
Travel Expenses and Other Staff Costs
Project Costs (Mobile phone, Stationery)
Confirmed Income
The Robertson Trust (on condition of match
Projected Income
Dumfries and Galloway Council (Housing