Objection to Craignish affordable housing application may bring loss of allocated grant

Following the decision taken at the last meeting of Craignish Community Council – to object to the application for planning consent for 6 units of affordable rented housing and five units for sale at The Glebe, Fyne Homes has found itself in a predicament.

The majority who, at that last meeting, had chosen to object to this long needed provision had done so on the grounds that the plan submitted was at a degree of variance from the local plan the community council had developed. This had included 100% of affordable housing at The Glebe.

At the same time the Community Council suggested other sites in the village, described as ‘more suitable for affordable housing’ and asked for discussions on these with the Housing Association concerned, Fyne Homes and Argyll and Bute Council’.

With another meeting of the Craignish Community Council coming up on 6th February, we understand that Fyne Homes has let the Community Council know that it is in no position to discuss the use of any other site for this project.

The grant awarded to Fyne Homes from Argyll and Bute Council’s Rural Housing Development Fund [RHDF] is for six affordable homes on the site for which planning consent has been sought.

This plan was extensively discussed before the planning application by Fyne Homes with the different parties concerned. The funding is tied to this specific plan and is time limited, related to the start date of the project.

We understand that the time limit has already been overrun and that therefore Fyne Homes feels that its priority has to be to work on progressing the current application as the only chance for the foreseeable future of getting affordable housing in Ardfern built with the allocated funding.

Other projects in other places are already eyeing up that funding with a view to applying for it should this project fail.

But the Community Council has made the decision to go for formal objection which is likely to delay Fyne Homes beyond the fundable start date.

IF this project is allowed to fail, not only will the allocated grant be lost to affordable housing in Craignish but the investment already made will be lost.

The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, owners of The Glebe, have, as a result of the agreement made with Fyne Homes for the housing project, invested £20,ooo on funding aspects of the development of the project.

At the heart of the matter are people who need homes.

There are values of far greater import than absolute adherence to any plan.

It will be interesting to see if Ardfern and Craignish Community Council can reconnect with those values or whether they find that the value of delay in losing the project altogether is not of concern to those already well housed.

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5 Responses to Objection to Craignish affordable housing application may bring loss of allocated grant

  1. For my sins I rent from West Highland Housing Association…

    However, I fully understand why the folk would object to affordable housing been built. If you had worked hard, and obtained your mortgage and done your best to improve your life, etc. Why should your quiet enjoyment be wrecked by social housing tenants.

    Now, there are thousands of excellent social housing tenants, but there are also a number that are dodgy. Perhaps these folk, are worried they are going to get the dodgy ones…and who can blame them. And before you go biting my head off….yes, you also get dodgy homeowners….

    All I am saying is that these guys are doing there best to hold onto what they have and what they worked hard in achieving…..Who can blame them.

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    • People live in homes; some of the people are dodgy. The locals have every right to object to the application, but it’s not a compelling argument and hardly a planning issue.

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  2. Let me make this very clear. The Community Council did not object to six affordable houses on the Glebe site in Ardfern (though there was consternation at the unimaginative ‘institutionalised’ design of them). In fact, it was the Community Council that fought for such houses to be allowed there by getting Argyll and Bute Council to change its own Local Plan.

    The Community Council objected to the development because the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland demanded that there would have to be five private houses built on the site, in a ribbon development along the lochside road, in direct opposition to the wishes of 91% of the local community. (Three years ago those same General Trustees said the ground could only be developed if ALL the houses were ‘affordable’ social housing – which is what the community wanted.)

    Now these General Trustees of the Church of Scotland are saying that unless they are allowed to build these five large private houses, they will not allow the six ‘affordable’ social houses to be built. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that these social houses will be allocated to people living in Craignish area, and that was a key demand of the community. The community is, effectively, being blackmailed. It could be said that the General Trustees have grossly misled the community.

    How very Christian.

    The Glebe is a lochside green field site in a very sensitive area. The alternative site suggested for these ‘affordable’ homes already has planning permission for such houses. Much of the infrastructure is already in place. They are, arguably, in a better position too. However, it seems that Fyne Homes will not countenance even considering this alternative.

    What started as a way to get affordable rented homes built for local residents in the Craignish area, homes which most people on the peninsula agree are desperately needed, has turned into a fight between the greedy General Trustees of the Church of Scotland (who stand to benefit by £500,000) and developers, who are ignoring the wishes of the whole community, and that same community that wants to see affordable rented accommodation built for local residents.

    Ridiculous? Yes. The reality is that the developers, seeing a handsome profit, want to build five expensive private houses on a very sensitive site, against the documented wishes of 91% of the local community, and as a ‘sop to that community’ they will deign to build six ugly ‘affordable’ houses for rent to the ‘poor’.
    The talk of ‘money running out’ is a smokescreen. If it’s available now, and not spent, then it’s still available. Administrators of such schemes need to get their act together.

    I could go on, but won’t – yet. Except to add that any opinions in the above are mine alone, and I have expressed the facts as I see them. I am in no way expressing the views of, or writing on behalf of, Craignish Community Council.

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  3. This is a very biased account of the position. It was made clear both to Fyne Homes and the Kirk Session that this application was likely to meet objections if it included up-market housing sites. Fyne Homes did not submit a planning application – it came from the Church of Scotland commissioners. Naturally Fyne Homes will not discuss alternative sites unless this application is rejected. For people who need homes in Craignish there are already planning consents for around 14 affordable houses. Perhaps before writing such uninformed comments you should get your facts straight!

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