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‘We’re trying to keep the island alive’: New housing development on Mull could triple the size of one of its main villages

The houses would be located in Craignure, where the island's ferry terminal is based.
The houses would be located in Craignure, where the island's ferry terminal is based.

A development aimed at keeping the island alive will triple the size of a village on Mull.

Plans are afoot for 90 new houses, a care home, nursery and shop in Craignure, where the ferry terminal is based.

It would mean as many as 350 new people staying at the site close to the Isle of Mull Hotel.

The site close to the Isle of Mull Hotel.

The ground is owned by the local company behind the proposals, TSL Contractors.

Naomi Knight, a director of TSL, said: “There are not enough houses on Mull. We have got a shortage of working age people and they can’t get housing.

“Mull is thriving. We are trying to keep the island alive.”

It is hoped that this growth will encourage the Scottish Government to provide a commutable ferry service to the mainland all year round.

At present, the ferry gets into Oban from Mull at 9.30am and departs at 3.55pm during winter months.

The Isle of Mull ferry.

Mrs Knight said: “It is hoped that some of the adults staying in this development can live in Craignure and commute to Oban for work. At present this is not possible during the winter.”

The development is a mix of two to four bedroom flats and houses, with 24 of the homes to be affordable.

A public event took place in Craignure Village Hall and an online consultation is running until December 29.

TSL are in talks with potential operators for the children’s nursery and care home for the elderly.

90 new houses, a care home, nursery and shop are proposed for this site at Craignure.

They hope to gain planning consent in the first quarter of next year and begin the first stage of construction in January 2023.

Mrs Knight added: “We have spoken to local companies West Coast Motors and Scottish Sea Farms, who have come back saying this is great, we are interested in purchasing some of these properties.

“Scottish Sea Farms are 14 people short on the island and can’t look at filling these posts when there is no housing. West Coast Motors are struggling for drivers.

‘Housing is becoming a bigger problem’

“It has been a problem for years and is becoming a bigger problem. The island is busy. It is thriving. There is no unemployment on Mull. We are looking to bring more people in.

“We are trying to do the best thing for the island.”

Iain Campbell of Mull Community Council said they planned to invite TSL to give a presentation at a future meeting.

He added: “From a personal point of view, I am aware there is a need for housing on the island for hospital workers, bus drivers, teachers and so on. If we are able to get appropriate affordable housing at Craignure, that would only be a good thing for the island.”

We are trying to do the best thing for the island.”

TSL director Naomi Knight

The proposed development site sits to the north-east of the village of Craignure and can be accessed via the A849 main road round the island. It is close to the centre of Craignure village.

The Isle of Mull Hotel and Spa sits directly across from the site and the Mull and Iona Community Care Hospital is situated north-east.

Existing housing and a small woodland area also lie within the immediate surroundings.

TSL is a home grown developer. Andy Knight took over the family business from his parents. It was established 40 years ago.

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