Residents have saved the last available council house in a famously scenic Scots village from becoming another holiday home.
Villagers in Plockton fought to prevent Highland Council from selling the three-bedroom home on the open market where prices have surged beyond the range of local, working people.
The house at 14 Harbour Street in the village – the setting for TV police series Hamish Macbeth starring Robert Carlyle – became vacant after the last tenant of more than 30 years moved into a care home.
Previously, 13 Harbour Street was sold for £380,000 and number 16 went for £360,000 six years ago. Plockton Community Council had warned half of the 80 homes in the centre of the village were now either second homes or available for letting. Following protests, Highland Council said it would not sell the property which has been refurbished and allocated to a teacher at Plockton High School – delighting residents in the Wester Ross village.
Number 14 – known locally as Dan’s house – has been renovated over the past year by Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, acting as agents for Highland Council.
Peter MacKenzie, chairman of Plockton and District Community Council, said: “We are delighted with the outcome at Dan’s house.
“There is a feelgood factor in that a local teacher will now occupy it. This shows the system working and we need to see more of it in Plockton.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association said it was progressing with a pre-planning application for 12 affordable homes on part of the council-owned shinty pitch in the village.
Derek Logie, chief executive of Rural Housing Scotland, told The Sunday Post in January that opportunities for young people to buy in the Highlands and Islands were becoming increasingly limited as older, cash-rich buyers snapped properties up at high prices.
Former SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Rob Gibson has called for government organisations such as Forest and Land Scotland and crofting estates to take the lead in providing more affordable land for housing on the islands.
The Scottish Government said significant investment had been made to help ensure islanders could afford homes, with schemes including the Croft House Grant scheme helping 1,067 families since 2007.
It added: “Funding for affordable housing has been increased by £174 million in 2022-23. We are also continuing the Rural and Island Housing Funds over the lifetime of the parliament, backed by funding of £30m.”
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