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So you want to build houses? - Introduction

Rural Housing Guide

Lack of affordable housing consistently tops polls regarding the concerns of rural communities in Scotland. Many recognise that suitable housing is crucial to sustain local services and to enable young people to remain and return to rural communities; that the local school and village shop depend on families being able to make their lives in their home communities and that local services depend on key workers being able to access housing.

Yet communities have found it difficult to take direct action to solve this issue. While some have developed their own answers to other social and economic problems through community ownership of land, shops, even abattoirs, housing has for most been something that has been difficult for communities to do themselves.

The pages on this website are designed to help your community take action to develop affordable housing; by building housing yourself as a community; working with partners such as housing associations + councils; enabling affordable home ownership + self build to help people build their own homes; and to lobby for the development of affordable housing and infrastructure to sustain and regenerate your community.

Communities have a vital role in the development of affordable rural housing;

  • some like Knoydart + Gigha own land and can make land available for housing either by community, by housing associations or by local people.
  • communities can also tap into new money for housing investment using community shares or income from renewables to finance housing provision.
  • they can highlight housing needs and opportunities to local authorities and housing associations

The website looks at the steps communities need to take to get started, assess housing need, develop affordable rural housing and to manage rural houses. It sets out how local people can tackle local housing need and through affordable housing help regenerate their community.

Throughout the site there are practical examples of where rural communities have taken action and developed their own solutions to local housing needs, communities such as:

  • Laggan - where the community bought and renovated empty forestry houses at Strathmashie;
  • Crianlarich - renovation of derelict railway houses
  • the Isle of Eigg - helping affordable self build through their shared equity Eigg Roll initiative
  • Knoydart- renovation of empty property and new community owned houses built with Scottish Government grant
  • the West Harris Trust who are providing house plots at low cost to enable people to build their own homes