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.