Skye campaign group Iomairt an Eilein has this week expressed its disappointment at “speculative material” distributed by a holiday accommodation company which it believes only contributes to excessive houses prices in the region.
The statement from Iomairt an Eilein – which seeks to amplify the voices of young people across the community – came in response to material sent out across the island by the Devon-based business holidaycottages.co.uk.
The booklet which has an image of the Old Man of Storr emblazoned across its front, asks ‘Do you have a property to let?’ before going on to explain reasons why the company is a provider of “quality self-catering homes across the UK.”
Within it, the company states that it supports “local tourism while helping to protect the local landscape.”
It goes on to add: “As a business we consider our social and environmental responsibilities to be two of our core values; it is crucial to recognise the impact we are having on our local communities and places in which our holiday properties are located as well as the wider world around us.
“We are proud to be partnered with some of the UK’s leading conservation organisations: Marine Conservation Society – protecting unique seagrass – and RSPB – restoring British woodland.”
However, in a statement sent to the Free Press, Iomairt an Eilein dismissed the company’s sentiments about protecting the areas it operates in and argues that its campaign is only serving to exacerbate what is a chronic issue facing many people across the Highlands.
A spokesperson for Iomairt an Eilein told the Free Press: “We are extremely disappointed to see companies like this sending out speculative material which would only contribute to the excessive house prices seen across Skye and the Highlands.
“There is no engagement with local communities, or any acknowledgement of the shortage of long-term rental properties and affordable housing.”
The group added: “The inclusion of the charities they support feels like a hollow token gesture only serving to improve their appearance.”
Earlier this year, more than 2,500 people across the Highlands and Islands signed a petition raised by Iomairt an Eilein seeking action from politicians amid what they claim is an “existential crisis” caused by rising house prices, a dearth of sustainable work, and an increase in holiday-let properties.
The group is led by nine youngsters originally from Skye, some of whom feel that they have been priced out of moving back home to work and live.
Article by Adam Gordon