A Black Isle community trust is celebrating after achieving a new milestone in its ambition to develop community facilities and housing in its village.
Culbokie Community Trust (CCT) has been granted planning permission in principle from Highland Council to build six homes, a community centre and business units, set amid landscaped public space.
The development lies on 1.2 acres of land procured by CCT under community right to buy in 2015 with help from the Scottish Land Fund.
It’s across the path from a 33 home development by Tulloch Homes, granted planning permission by Highland councillors this week.
In a pioneering arrangement, Tulloch Homes and CCT are working jointly, with Tulloch developing the services, access and junction improvements to benefit both developments.
Plans show the two projects laid out alongside each other on the field between the main road through the village and Glascairn Road.
Tulloch’s homes will be a mix of two and three-bed bungalows, while CCT is working with Cairn Housing Association to define the community’s housing needs before submitting plans for the six homes it envisages.
CCT chairman Richard Fyfe says it’s likely Cairn will act as developer, working closely with Tulloch who are also planning affordable housing on their site.
He said: “We are pleased by Tulloch’s mix of housing, providing opportunities for young people, and also options for older people from the village who might be wishing to downsize.”
Mr Fyfe said the economic downturn has meant their development will roll out slowly, starting with landscaping and a smaller community facility dubbed The Coffee Bothy.
He said: “This will be a smaller facility, flexible in design and relatively low cost.
“We are a commuter village to Inverness or Dingwall and we know there are residents who feel isolated, especially as our transport connections aren’t good.
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“The coffee bothy is designed to break down barriers, all part of the ethos behind the development.”
CCT will shortly be issuing a design brief for the landscaping and bothy, working in tandem with Cairn and Tulloch.
Mr Fyfe praised the efforts of the CCT directors, particularly Penny Edwards, in driving forward the project.
“Penny led the initiative and with the others has spent and enormous amount of time on the project.
“We’re taking things one day at a time, making the most of the opportunities and tackling the challenges ahead.”
Tulloch Homes chief executive George Fraser said he’d like to see the joint working idea repeated elsewhere.
He said: “Although we try to liaise with local interests in our developments, the Culbokie joint initiative is really innovative and something that works for everybody.
“Perhaps it could be repeated elsewhere in similar circumstances.
“We’ve had a helpful and constructive partnership with the Trust which, with planning approval, would achieve the excellent potential of the adjoining sites.”