The developer behind a 45-cabin hotel being constructed in Portree has announced plans to build 16 family-sized homes on nearby land.
Charles Garton Jones, a London-based property developer who also owns the Cow Shed boutique bunkhouse in Uig, is aiming to build the detached houses next to his Bracken Hide Hotel, off Struan Road.
Mr Garton Jones told the Free Press he hopes to provide the homes with an ultrafast broadband connection free of charge for the first five years.
He said: “We have applied for 11 three-bedroom houses, and five four-bedroom houses. They are all on generous plots with good-sized gardens. The site is circa five acres, so we are looking at about three houses per acre.
“The houses are entirely within the local plan site which is allocated for housing with an indicative housing capacity of 20 houses.”
When asked what his motivation was for building, he said: “I think Skye post-pandemic is a good market for detached houses, but what we are trying to do is build homes with accessibility to schools and Portree itself.”
With affordable housing on the island currently in short supply, the Free Press sought to establish how much the homes would actually cost.
Mr Garton Jones said: “We haven’t got that far. Simply because until you have planning permission you don’t have a product.
“And the market moves, so a figure now could be out of date in six month’s time. I have been encouraged, though, by the new five per cent deposit mortgages the government are backing. I hope that could be really helpful.
“Lenders are also starting to offer mortgages at five and a half times buyers’ earnings as opposed to four or four and a half times, so that will also help with how much people can borrow.”
He added: “Because of the proximity to the schools and Portree it is not going to appeal to people who are looking to buy a holiday home. They want to be in the middle of nowhere.
“I think it is going to appeal to people who are looking to buy it as their main home and want access to the schools and decent internet so they can work.”
As an extra incentive the developer plans to connect all the houses via a full fibre 1GB broadband connection to the nearby BT exchange.
“This connection will be provided by us completely free of charge for the first five years,” he added.
“This is possible because the capacity we will have for the hotel is well beyond what we will need. This is still subject to BT surveys, though, but it is a realistic aspiration.”
The housing scheme, which Mr Garton Jones describes as “an amalgam of Highland and Scandinavian culture” has been designed by Plockton-based architect Olli Blair, who caught the eye of the developer with his work on the Raasay Distillery building.
Mr Garton Jones said he hoped to get on site by September/October this year.
The Bracken Hide Hotel is scheduled to open in April 2022.
If anyone is looking for more information on the homes or to register an interest they can contact Mr Garton Jones via firstname.lastname@example.org