A council house in Plockton which the community fought to keep in public ownership has been refurbished and allocated to a local teacher.
Number 14 Harbour Street, known locally as Dan’s house, has been totally renovated over the past year by Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, acting as agents for Highland Council.
This week, community leaders expressed their delight that the house had been retained as social housing and that the new tenant is a key worker, a teacher at Plockton High School.
People in Plockton had campaigned to keep the traditional two-bedroomed property as social housing several years ago after the previous tenant moved into a care home.
The community viewed it as vital to protect the property for social rent in the village where a large proportion of the housing stock is holiday homes and local people are routinely priced out of the market.
Peter MacKenzie, chairman of Plockton and District Community Council, told the Free Press: “We’re delighted with the outcome at Dan’s house. There’s a feelgood factor that it will now be occupied by a local teacher. This shows the system working and we need to see more of in Plockton.”
Meanwhile Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association is progressing with a pre-planning application for 12 homes on part of the Highland Council-owned shinty pitch in the village.
The proposal is for affordable housing on a section of land currently used as playing fields by the high school and which was gifted to the community many years ago.
Ian McIvor, LSHA’s director of investment, attended a recent community council meeting to inform members of developments.
Mr McIvor said the pre-application would include full consultation with the community.
He also told members of the housing association’s intention to lodge a planning application, on behalf of the council, for the redevelopment of the former janitor’s house in Plockton into a terrace of three houses on the site. That plan is at a very early stage.
Mr MacKenzie said: “We will be discussing the shinty pitch proposal at our next meeting and a community consultation form will be put into shops and other places locally so that people can have their say.
“The community knows that the area needs more affordable housing. We currently have a big problem in the local hospitality sector where businesses can’t get staff because there is no affordable housing available for employees. Right now in Plockton, businesses are having to operate on restricted hours owing to a lack of staff.”
Article by JACKIE MACKENZIE