15th November 2004
The Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority 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 recently, 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 the less well off, is no less today than it was at the time of the Napier commission all those years ago, but circumstances in other ways have changed very considerably.”
The Cairngorms National Park is unique in that it is the only National Park in the world with a significant area of land under crofting tenure, and like rest of rural Scotland, it suffers from high house prices.
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.
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 we 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 afordable housing.”