Defining Westray’s Housing Needs

Westray Development Trust has for some time been looking into housing need on Westray. This work included engaging with the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust which sent a representative to the island during regatta weekend 2016 to carry out consultation with the community. The results of this work suggested that there is some need for housing on the island and we used this to look at some development options.

However, before the Trust proceeds with the purchase of any properties or land, it needs to get the definitive answer on the actual demand and type of property requirement. Therefore, we have devised a short questionnaire which is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MKVG89Q , via links on the Westray Facebook page or in paper form from the office if you’d prefer. The survey results will give us the information we need in order to make a decision on whether to proceed or not.

We thought it would be helpful to explain what we consider to be a housing need. We would suggest that a housing need is anyone who may already be housed but who also has a desire to move out of their current home for any number of reasons. These reasons could include, but not limited to:

  • A young person or couple wanting to move out of the family home or set up their first home together
  • An older person or couple who want to downsize to a more manageable, adaptable home
  • A person currently living in sub-standard accommodation
  • A person or family wanting to move back to Westray but is struggling to find suitable accommodation
  • A family wanting to move into a larger home

We would be very grateful if you could take the time to complete this questionnaire and/or pass it on to anyone that you know might have a housing need now (or in future) including family members and friends who currently live elsewhere but would be looking to move to Westray. Please be assured that your answers will be treated with strictest confidence and any public access to the answers will be limited to collective, anonymous results.

We recognise that everyone’s need will vary and therefore if you wish to speak to the Trust in regards to your own, individual requirement for housing, please get in touch to make an appointment. We are contactable:

9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday on 01857 677858;

Or through email: general enquiries to admin@westraydevelopmenttrust.co.uk or direct to Andy, Operations Manager on andy@westraydevelopmenttrust.co.uk;

Or drop in to the office at Quarry Road during office hours;

Or send us a message on Facebook/Messenger – https://www.facebook.com/westray.developmenttrust.5

We would be delighted if you could provide us with your responses before 5pm on 23rd February so that we can review the responses and make a decision at the next Board meeting (6th March) on if/how to proceed with the project. If you need more information please get in touch as above.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Housing Project

Shane Scott, the architect working with the Trust will be visiting Westray on Wednesday 20th December and will be available for a discussion from 10-5 in the Hofn. If you have an interest in the housing project, then please drop in at any time. If you would prefer a private meeting with Shane or the Trust, please let us know.

Employment Opportunity (Maternity Cover)

Administration and Finance Officer (Maternity Cover – Minimum 18 months)

Salary Range £22,000 – £25,593 (Negotiable depending on experience and skills)

Hours – Full-time working normal office hours with some out of hours meetings

Likely Start Date – Late February 2018

The aim of Westray Development Trust is to develop the economic, social and cultural sustainability of our community by harnessing the quality of our resources, people and island environment.

Responsible for providing an high level of financial and office administrative support for Westray Development Trust (WDT) and its wholly owned trading subsidiary, Westray Renewable Energy Ltd (WRE) the Admin and Finance Officer’s main duties include:

  • All tasks relating to payroll through the Sage system
  • Provide advice to the board on matters of governance and to implement procedures to ensure that there is good governance within the organisation e.g. compliance with charity and company law as appropriate.
  • Record, collate, review, analyse and distribute financial reports and information to directors, Financial Sub Group and Operations Manager to enable them to monitor the financial performance of the organisation and the projects it is progressing.
  • Provide the financial information required for inclusion in the business plans for any projects being considered by the Trust.

For more information including an informal discussion about the role, the full job specification or an application form please contact Andy Makin (Operations Manager) on 01857 677858 or andy@westraydevelopmenttrust.co.uk

Closing Date for applications will be noon on 12th January 2018 with interviews likely be the week commencing 22nd January 2018.

Westray Housing Needs

The Trust is continuing to explore the Housing Need of Westray and at present we area inviting tenders to assess two potential plots of land and a vacant property for their development suitability. The costs of this tender will form part of an application to the Island Housing Fund and if successful will lead on to a full application for development assistance.

If you have a housing need, or perhaps can predict one in the near future please contact the Trust office on 01857 677858

Employment Opportunity

Westray Development Trust, with support from LEADER, HIE, Scottish Government and the Big Lottery are conducting a 24 month long study and pilot scheme into the growing of fresh fruit and vegetables on Westray.

Using two different growing mediums, combined with installed heat and lighting systems, powered by renewable energy, it is hoped that the growing seasons can be extended.

Supporting the Lead Gardener we are looking to recruit an assistant gardener whose responsibilities will include:

  • planting and maintenance of vegetable beds and fruit trees
  • irrigation and fertilization of beds
  • deadheading
  • pruning, mulching, watering of trees, shrubs, and vines
  • weeding
  • plant labelling
  • garden renovation and bed amendment
  • greenhouse maintenance
  • planting, transplanting and propagation of plant material
  • pest management – monitoring and treatment of health problems of all plant material  composting
  • operation and utilisation of basic landscape tools (trimmers, blowers, pruners, spades, etc)
  • Recordkeeping, database updates and advising Trust staff team of completed orders  Other related work as needed, such as equipment maintenance, painting, etc.
  • Meeting with visiting members of the public, encouraging the use of the produce
  • Weighing, packaging and delivering the produce
  • Attending occasional outreach events promoting horticulture

Requirements for this position include:

  • valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle
  • ability to lift 50 lbs. and to perform strenuous physical tasks under a variety of conditions including kneeling and bending.
  • experience in gardening work including watering, fertilising, potting, re-potting, pruning, grooming, and general maintenance is an advantage but not essential
  • ability to follow instructions and work as part of a team
  • ability to work occasional weekends and evenings
  • ability to work in all weather and temperature conditions
  • experience with machinery maintenance, mowing, construction and irrigation is a plus

The position is for 17.5 hours we week at an hourly rate of £7.50

Applications will be accepted in the form of a CV and covering letter. Closing date is noon on 4th October

For more information please contact Andy in the Trust office

Westray Housing Needs

Over the last two years The Trust has been working with Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Housing Association Ltd and the Islands Small Communities Housing Trust to consider what Westray’s housing needs are now and, what could the future need look like.

In summary The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust was commissioned to provide a detailed study into the opportunities available to help to progress the aims and objectives of the Westray Development Trust. The report provides an overview of the development opportunities for land, commercial properties and for housing. Detailed consideration was given to the most suitable sites, and the main findings from a series of community consultation exercises was explored. The report also investigated potential partnerships and examples of funding mechanisms to aid the delivery of the most viable projects identified. Part of the process was to discuss potential site with the Orkney Isles Council’s Planning Department. They provided some general advice as each planning application would be considered in its own merit.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

THE RURAL HOUSING FUND & ISLAND HOUSING FUND –  The Rural Housing Fund is a £25m fund launched by the Scottish Government in April 2016, with a further £5m specifically earmarked for island communities, The Islands Housing Fund, announced in September 2016. The aim is to support development in rural areas by making grants and loan funding available to viable rural and island housing developments.

SCOTTISH LAND FUND – The Scottish Land Fund is designed to allow communities across the whole of Scotland, the opportunities to enable communities throughout rural and urban Scotland to purchase land and buildings to create independent, resilient communities. Community groups can apply for assistance with projects from £10,000 to £1m.

COMMUNITY SHARES – Community Shares can part fund development costs, where shares are offered to members of the community in order to raise the required finance for development.

CROSS-SUBSIDY  – Where we define cross-subsidy we take this to mean the sale of an asset or part of an asset to provide funding to support the delivery of an objective which requires additional funding support.

PARTNERSHIPS – Securing partnerships can be essential to delivering a project. Some examples which are relevant and can be replicated in Westray and where partnership working has played a key role in making projects viable are as follows:

RURAL HOUSING BURDEN – The Rural Housing Burden is a mechanism used to protect the long-term affordability of homes for sale.

LONG LEASE – The Housing (Scotland) Act was amended by The Scottish Parliament to allow Rural Housing Bodies to create leases of 21 years or more. This enables private lending to be available to projects involving leases which can be of benefit to many community led projects.

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S INFRASTRUCTURE FUND – A new fund of up to £50 m is available in 2016/2017 to assist with projects across Scotland to help the government to reach its target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY – e.g. community benefit funds or income from renewable energy schemes. As Westray Renewable Energy Ltd is a trading subsidiary of the Westray Development Trust, there may be some potential to invest in some community projects which include housing or commercial opportunities.

LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP – LIFT SCHEME. Eligible applicants are able to purchase between 60% – 80% of the property price, depending on their individual financial situations.

LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP – SHARED EQUITY Shared equity homes can be provided separately from the LIFT scheme by a community group or developer.

OPEN MARKET HOUSING –  With agreement from the landowner it may be appropriate to sell part of a development site at the full open market value.

SELF-BUILD The term “self-build” is widely used, although we include this to mean people who employ a builder to build their home from beginning to end.

CO-HOUSING –  Co-housing can be a way to achieve lowimpact living, affordability and a sense of community in a project KEY WORKER HOUSING Key worker housing is mainly used to describe homes that are rented to people who are working in the area from a range of professions, on a short-term basis.

REFURBISHMENT OF EMPTY PROPERTIES – Refurbishing properties can be a good way of returning existing housing stock back into use, although it is important to recognise that all properties are not suited to being refurbished and then providing an affordable property.

SPECIAL NEEDS HOUSING Suitable housing can be driven by the needs of a particular family with particular care requirements, or with mobility issues for example.

HOUSING SUITABLE FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE –  Housing for varying needs building standards provides housing suitable for elderly people.

WESTRAY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT In order to gain the maximum contact with local people to engage with, HSCHT attended the annual Westray Regatta and the Island Picnic on 30th and 31st July 2016. Seven people responded to a short face to face questionnaire

CONCLUSIONS OF THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT REGARDING HOUSING OPTIONS: The discussions with members of the community who attended the Island Picnic were helpful to determine the types, tenures and timescale of the housing required by local people over the next few years. The main preference to satisfy the housing aspirations was for self-build. Unfortunately, without access to land or to available finance this method of providing housing can be difficult to achieve. Therefore, if support mechanisms were available to assist the community then this may be achievable for some families. Rented housing and purchasing on the open market were the next preferred options with rented housing being more attractive to those who are new to the island, setting-up new households or thinking about returning.

The full report developed by Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust can be found at HSCHT 2016 Report and the Council’s report at 2015.06.05 Westray Housing report.

The Trust is planning an open meeting to discuss their plans in the near future, details of which will be displayed in the shop windows and social media sites shortly.

Community Fundraising Shop – Update

Some questions are being asked about the progress of the Fundraising Shop, so we thought it appropriate to update you all.

A meeting has taken place with some of the groups who would want to make use of the fundraising shop and a draft agreement has been drawn on how it will operate.

The Trust has purchased 2 large prefabricated buildings which are on the Mainland, ready to come over.

We have agreed a contract to develop the hard standing and hydro connections.

What we now need is the sale of the land to complete. We started the process in early March, hoping for it to be completed by early Summer so we could set up the shops. But as with all things that involve conveyance etc, there have been unavoidable delays outside of our control.

Once ownership has been confirmed we can then apply for planning permission, which will take a few weeks to obtain.

Please, hold on to all the stuff that you want to donate, we are working as fast as we can to get the shop open.