Crofters come up with cheap homes idea
office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Thu Dec 23 15:23:30 GMT 2004
CROFTERS COME UP WITH CHEAP HOMES IDEA
by ANGUS MACDONALD
taken from http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk
11th December 2004
Crofters in Badenoch have called for money to be made available to
renovate croft and farm houses to create much needed affordable
They have called on the Crofters Commission and the Cairngorms
National Park Authority to come up with a financial package for the
conversions and then to make them available for rent to low-income
Vivian Montgomery, secretary of the Cairngorms Crofting Community
Association, said: "There are a large number of old croft houses
lying empty, which are still structurally sound. The crofters have
built new houses elsewhere on their land. There is a growing demand
for housing and the Crofters Commission has said that it wants the
crofting community to play its part in meeting that demand.
"So far, the idea appears to be that areas of the common grazing will
be given up for new housing. I think what they should do is to
provide financial grant and loan packages to the crofters for the old
houses to be renovated. The stipulation could be that these houses
are then offered at affordable rents to people on low incomes who
have no hope of putting together the money to build their own houses."
George Grant, vice chairman of the association, said: "Farmers and
landowners in this area also have a lot of derelict cottages on their
"They should also be encouraged to bring these back into use. There
is probably no incentive for them to do that, because building plots
at the moment are selling for £130,000.
"If that carries on the whole nature of the countryside here is going
to change. Landowners should also be asked to give up a few of their
redundant acres for housing, rather than ask crofters for croft
grazing land that is already in scarce supply."
The Cairngorms National Park has a significant area of land under
crofting tenure, and like the rest of rural Scotland, it suffers from
high house prices.
Andrew Thin, convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority,
said : "With the introduction of the forthcoming Draft Crofting
Reform Bill, new areas of land could come under crofting tenure or
large crofts subdivided, giving an increasing number of people the
chance to run a small croft holding and build an affordable home on
the land at the same time."
Andrew Thin said he would like to see the park used to pilot
innovative solutions to such problems and that crofting tenure could
be used to create new croft holdings on publicly-owned land or land
bought for this purpose by communities through the new community
right to buy.
PRESS RELEASE FROM CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK
Date: 12 November 2004
CNPA CONVENER OUTLINES VALUE OF CROFTING TENURE TO FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
IN THE CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK
The Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is
calling for a debate on how the new crofting legislation could help
to solve rural Scotland's housing crisis.
Speaking to representatives from the Crofters Commission and SEERAD
in Aviemore earlier this week (9 November), Andrew Thin expressed his
desire to explore how crofting tenure could become a key policy tool
for the Park in terms of access to land for the purpose of building
an affordable home.
He said: "Crofting tenure has ensured the sustainability of
communities in the Highlands and Islands for many decades. The need
for access to land for local people, and especially for the less well
off, is no less today than is was at the time of the Napier
commission all those years ago, but circumstances in other ways have
changed very considerably.
"Crofting is often seen only as a rather quaint and romantic form of
land use but the legislation that underpins crofting tenure is
potentially as relevant today as it has ever been.
"With the introduction of the forthcoming Draft Crofting Reform Bill,
new areas of land could come under crofting tenure or large crofts
subdivided, giving an increasing number people the chance to run a
small croft holding and build an affordable home on the land at the
The Cairngorms National Park is unique in that is the only National
Park in the world with a significant area of land under crofting
tenure, and like the rest of rural Scotland, it suffers from high
Andrew Thin would like to see the Park used to pilot innovative
solutions to such problems and sees crofting tenure as a unique
opportunity to create new croft holdings on publicly owned land or
land bought for this purpose by communities through the new community
right to buy.
"Private landowners may not be all that keen to create new croft
holdings but publicly owned land - for example land that is in the
ownership of a Government body or a community trust - could offer
many benefits, both for the crofter and in terms of the
organisation's own coffers," he said.
"As far as the Cairngorms National Park Authority goes, this is an
issue that we will be building into our Local Plan and National Park
Plan but it is still very early days and a great deal of thinking and
talking has to take place first."
David Green Chairman of the Crofters Commission said: "We believe
that crofting and crofters have a significant role to play in the
provision of affordable and other housing in the Highlands and I and
are keen to work with the Park Authority and other public agencies in
partnership with the local crofting community to explore what
opportunities there are for perhaps mutual agreement on creating new
crofts or even using some common grazings for affordable housing."
Mr Thin's closing remarks called for further dialogue between
existing crofters, public agencies and planners to develop further
thinking on the value of crofting tenure to help solve some of the
challenges faced in rural areas, not just in the Cairngorms National
Park, but across the country. He also pointed to the possible
establishment of a crofting steering group within the CNPA.
Note to newsdesks:
The Cairngorms National Park was established in September 2003. It is
the UK's largest National Park at 1,467 sq miles. The CNPA was set up
by the Scottish Parliament to ensure that the unique aspects of the
Cairngorms - both the natural environment and the local communities -
are cared for, sustained and enhanced for current and future
generations to enjoy. The CNPA is designed to be an `enabling'
organisation promoting partnership and giving leadership to all those
involved in the Cairngorms.
For more information contact:
Cairngorms National Park Authority
Tel: 01479 870534 / email: karenpowell at cairngorms.co.uk /
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