PET raised funds and in 2013 had built 4 flats out of 25 units on the East Whins (EW) site.
Development of private housing in The Park accelerated in the early 00’s on The Field of Dreams. In 2010 a proposal for developing 25 homes created the opportunity for Community-0wned affordable housing. Through an innovative partnership with Moray Council Housing (under section 75), the developer (Duneland Ltd.) agreed to provide 4 affordable units to be purchased, allocated and managed by the Community.
The obligations will secure the level of affordable housing to be provided on site and the mix and tenure, in conjunction with the Planning Service. Councils require a percentage of homes on developments over a certain size to be affordable. There are different options for the delivery of these homes. The obligation could be met through the provision of units for social rent, mid market rent, or commuted sums. The preferred option in Housing is social rent.
The arrangements for the delivery of the affordable housing are agreed between the developer and the Council. Units for social rent are generally delivered through serviced land being provided from the developer to the Council or a housing association who can then develop as part of their new house build programme. Alternatively the developer may build the houses in partnership with the Council or a housing association that will manage them in the long term. These methods of delivery are very much tied in with the availability of grant funding.
Since then, PET has been managing the 4 Community-owned affordable homes. We were actively involved in setting up the East Whins Residents’ Association and continue to stay engaged with this amazing social engineering experiment, whilst encouraging our tenants and co-owners to take an active role in it.
We own 2 two bedroom rental flats (care-prepared) and 2 shared-ownership houses on the East Whins site.
A Community group formed and managed a fundraising campaign which led in 2012 to the purchase, by PET, for the Community. This was through 2/3 interest free loans and the £200,000 Duneland Ltd’s ‘Section 75 donation‘.
This original group included representatives from the following local organisations: Duneland Ltd, New Findhorn Association (NFA) Community Council, Park Ecovillage Trust and Ekopia Resource Exchange (an Industrial and Provident Society).
Three of the five allocations (one allocatee’s situation changed) went to Findhorn Foundation co-workers. The criteria for the allocations were set by the Community, agreed by Moray Council and implemented by our own Land & Housing Trust committee, which consists of representatives from the NFA, the Findhorn Foundation and Ekopia.
One of the flats has allowed a long-term community member to be cared for in the comfort of her own home, increasing her life quality tremendously as she continues to be integrated into the community where she is loved. Whilst this has not been without challenges, the learning opportunities have been invaluable. The other flat has been allocated twice. As the first tenant found their life circumstances changed, the latter allocation was to a young family of core-workers.
The 2 two-bedroom shared ownership houses were allocated to one young family and to a young first time buyer.