New crofts to emerge from asset transfer?
Five of the panel members who evaluate asset transfer applications for Forestry and Land Scotland visited Lower Ardochy recently (22 October) to see the positive impact of their work.
The group travelled to Invergarry to meet representatives of Glengarry Community Woodlands (GCW), the Woodland Crofts Partnership, and the Communities Housing Trust (CHT), to catch up on progress being made on plans for affordable housing and woodland crofts.
GCW and CHT, which between them acquired 70 ha of land through FLS’s Community Asset Transfer Scheme in September 2022, have submitted a planning application for 6 homes to Highland Council.
The proposed development includes 4 affordable homes and 2 woodland crofts with croft houses.
CATS Panel Chair, Bill Slee, said;
“The Glen Garry community is just one of the many that have taken advantage of the asset transfer process to take more control of shaping their future.
“A total of 26 asset transfers of land have given rise to the creation of businesses, tourism and recreation opportunities and community hydro renewable energy schemes.
“All of the panel members appreciate the value of CATS, which is nothing less than an open invitation for people to come up with some ideas to make better use of Scotland’s national forests and land for the benefit of local communities.
“Coming here to see the work being done has really brought home the sense of potential and possibility that’s just waiting to be tapped by communities across the country.
" One of the key factors affecting the future of many Scottish rural communities is that of affordable housing, a challenge that is directly addressed at Lower Ardochy through this asset transfer. It presents transformational opportunities for the Glen Garry community.”
The crofts will serve as a pilot for the development of 4 more crofts on the area acquired by Glengarry Community Woodlands, working in partnership with the Woodland Crofts Partnership.
FLS has to date completed 25 asset transfers of land, with three more approved and two in progress. It also facilitates over 90 community projects across Scotland. Over 700 community and third sector organisations have an interest in the national forests, there is considerable scope for more.
The site visit was followed by a meeting of the CATS Panel to consider the latest community asset transfer requests received by FLS.
GCW Development Manager, Tom Cooper, said:
‘’Access to land and housing to buy or rent is the single most important issue affecting the sustainability of the community in Glengarry.
“We are delighted to be working with our partners at The Communities Housing Trust and Woodland Crofts Partnership to deliver a project that will go some way to addressing that issue by strengthening our community with new crofts for people to for people to live and work on, and new homes allocated on the basis of local needs."
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.