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Construction skills to be gained as Affordable Housing given go-ahead

10th December 2010

Six homes for 100% low cost ownership have been approved by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

Meeting in Boat of Garten today (Friday, 10 December 2010), the Planning Committee granted permission for two detached and four semi-detached homes at Ardgeal, Insh, Kincraig.

It’s the second phase of house building on the site by Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT). Four houses granted permission by the CNPA in 2008 are built and occupied.

Duncan Bryden, CNPA Planning Convener said: “There is a real need for these homes in the Cairngorms National Park. The design of the homes is of a high standard and great thought has been given to making sure they fit with the forest setting. The materials to be used include larch cladding on external walls and a profiled metal roof finish. They will also be energy efficient and have solar panels on the roof, helping address the challenges of climate change and also make them more affordable to run for those who occupy them.”

“This second phase at Ardgeal has looked carefully at how the first phase homes functioned and adjustments to cater even more effectively for people’s needs have been made.”

CNPA Housing Officer, Fiona Munro, added: “The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust specialises in bringing affordable housing to rural communities. Housing associations and Rural Housing Bodies are coming under increasing pressure to build more affordable housing while at the same time having to deal with increasing pressures on their budgets. This is a really good example of the sort of high quality, affordable housing we’d like to see more of in the Park and we’ll continue to work closely with HSCHT and other housing organisations.”

HSCHT is working in collaboration with Kincraig and Vicinity Community Council in order to identify suitable purchasers for the properties.

There is an additional, social benefit to the proposed development as College students are to be given work experience on the site. Fourteen trainees began an ‘Access to Construction’ course at Inverness College in August, under the auspices of the Cairngorms Construction Skills Project (CCSP).

Training will be given on things like waste management, and measures to reduce noise, light and air pollution during the construction phase. In addition to receiving training, one of the main projects which is intended to be undertaken by the CCSP on the site is the development of the community social area and the construction of play and picnic equipment.

The trainees will gain experience of sustainable construction, including measures to reduce pollution, during the construction phase and will take part in the development of the community social area and the construction of play and picnic equipment. The Scottish School of Forestry will support the project by felling existing trees and processing the timber for use on site to minimise environmental impact, while giving the trainees an insight into another rural industry.  The trainees will also benefit from a minibus funded by LEADER, though Cairngorms Local Action Group, to take them between college and the site.

HSCHT Director, Ronnie MacRae said: “The intent is to give these young adults the training and experience to allow them to gain full time local employment, while supporting HSCHT’s aim of providing affordable housing for local people.”