Steps have been taken to purchase Bayview from Orkney Islands Council. An offer has been made which is subject to the Trust being granted financial assistance from the Scottish Land Fund.
We have asked the architect to develop plans and submit a planning application to create 1×2 bedroom flat and 3×1 bedroom flats in the existing building and, 2×1 bedroom new builds to the rear of the building.
We are also approaching the Rural Housing Fund for grant assistance with the costs of developing the site.
Concurrently we will be working with a third party, Registered Social Landlord to manage the flats, subject to a new housing policy we will develop, on our behalf.
The Project Need
In order to have a final confirmation that the community still desired housing development in Westray, we sent out a Housing Needs Survey in February 2018. There were 27 responses, a good workable number. They all showed that there is a continued need for housing to be developed. The survey was not intended to replace the previous work undertaken over the last 3 years but to give the Board confidence that the need was still present.
On the strength of this last survey in conjunction with the work already completed by the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, the feedback from the potential funders and levels of staffing hours required to complete the applications. It was decided not to develop new-build housing at this busy time. However, the renovation of an existing property (Bayview) into several 1 – 2 bedroom flats is achievable.
If the Scottish Land Fund and Rural Housing Funds are extended, which we are reasonably confident they will be, a decision will be made to consider developing new builds in approximately 2 years’ time.