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West Harris Trust House Sites

Rural Housing Guide

The West Harris Trust took ownership of the West Harris Estates from the Scottish Government in 2008. As a community organisation it seeks to use its resources to benefit the social and economic well being of the community.

West Harris has experienced significant population decline over the past several decades, with a 50% population loss since 1951. This decline has been especially marked in the number of young families, with no children of pre-school age in the area. This has led to the local school Seilibost Primary School being threatened with closure. One of the primary aims of the Trust is to strengthen the community by attracting new families into the area. To this end the Trust, in partnership with local grazings committees, is currently offering house sites for sale at a significant discount to the current market value. The sale prospectus is available at here

The house sites are in stunning locations:

- three adjacent to Luskentyre beach and are being sold for £15,000 each:

File 343

- two at Horgabost with views across to Taransay for sale at £17,500 each:

File 344

- and one at Scaristavore with views over Taransay for sale at £20,000:

File 345

Allocation Criteria

As the survival of Seilebost School is central to the Trust’s plans to regenerate the area; priority is being given to families with young children committed to placing their children in the school.

Family with children

Children of pre-school age: 30 points per child
Children of primary school age enrolled, or to be enrolled, in Seilebost Primary: 25 per child
Children of secondary school age, or of primary school age to be enrolled in another primary school in Harris: 15 per child
Children having left school, or children of school age to be enrolled in a school outwith Harris: 5 per child

Applicant and partner (if applicable) with no children

Aged 18 to 25: 15 per adult
Aged 26 to 35: 10 per adult
Aged 36 plus: 5 per adult

Experience of island life

As West Harris is a remote rural area, the Trust believe that it is important that applicants interested in moving to the area fully appreciate this. Therefore to reflect long term commitment to the island the Trust allocate additional points to applicants who have prior experience of living in Harris or another island community.

One or more family members (excluding any children) born or brought up in Harris: 30 points
One or more family members (excluding any children) having lived in the Western Isles for more than 12 months: 15 points
One or more family members (excluding any children) having lived in a small, rural community: 10 points

Economic Regeneration

To reflect their commitment to the economic regeneration of West Harris, additional points are allocated to applicants with a viable business plan which will helps diversify and expand economic activity.

Applicant with viable plan for local business with 1 to 5 employees within 2 years: 50 points
Applicant has a viable plan for local business with 5+ employees within 2 years: 100 points

Conditions

To ensure that houses are actually built and that speculation does not occur there are a number of conditions placed on the sale of the house sites:

  • if the site or of any house built upon it is sold within ten years of the Trust’s sale to the applicant, the Trust is entitled to recover the difference between the discounted price and the market value prevailing at the time of the initial sale. This difference in price will be fixed by the Trust at the time the site is sold and will be index-linked to the RPI measure of inflation.
  • any house built on the site must be occupied as a permanent residence and cannot be used as a holiday home or let as such
  • the Trust may insert a clause giving it a right of pre-emption in the event of any future sale of a house built on the site.