Affordable housing built on glebe land on Barra
Published on 18 October 2023 2 minutes read
The affordable housing shortage in the Outer Hebrides has been eased thanks to the Church of Scotland.
Six new high-quality homes have been built on former glebe land at Rathad Na Ceardaich on the Isle of Barra.
The properties were built for the Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) and officially opened on 6 October.
Despite some challenges such as weather disruptions, travel disruptions and a delay to supply of electricity meters, HHP said the successful completion of the project in June by Calmax Construction Ltd is a "milestone to be celebrated".
Rev Scott Rennie, vice-chair of the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, said: "We are acutely aware of the affordable housing shortage on Barra and the pressures felt by local people struggling to find suitable homes that they can call their own.
"Therefore, we are delighted that part of the glebe land at Rathad Na Ceardaich, which was traditionally used by the local church minister in years gone by to keep livestock, has been put to very good use.
"The Church is committed to serving local communities in a wide variety of ways and the General Trustees are proud to play a part in supporting affordable housing by making land available, particularly in remote rural areas."
The General Trustees manage around 12,000 acres of glebe land for the Church of Scotland and encourage congregations who have glebes to engage with them on management, either to generate income by leasing or sale or by using them in their Christian mission.
Rev Dr Lindsay Schluter, minister of Barra Church of Scotland, said: "The Kirk Session and Congregational Board have a policy of selling land in ways that are sustainable for the agricultural economy of the island and also for the benefit of islanders.
"We were approached by Hebridean Housing Partnership to identify a suitable piece of land for affordable housing.
"We put it in touch with the General Trustees who took things forward to a happy conclusion and we are very pleased with the outcome."
Barra Church of Scotland was represented at the official opening by elders, Sheila Flower and Constance Pendrey.
Dena Macleod, Chief Executive at HHP said: "The completion of these six high-quality affordable homes on Barra is testament to the collaborative way all our partners worked together.
"Suitable land was made available by The Church of Scotland and the grant funding was provided by The Scottish Government and the Comhairle (Western Isles Council) and we provided private finance.
"We would particularly like to thank our contractor, Calmax Constructio and consultants for the way they managed the challenges mentioned above."