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£507,000 to help make affordable homes project on site of former Moray secondary school a reality

Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust chairwoman Tilly Smith at the site of where the affordable homes will be built.
Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust chairwoman Tilly Smith at the site of where the affordable homes will be built.

Campaigners in the Cairngorms have secured £507,000 to help build much-needed affordable housing on the site of a former school.

Last December, Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust (TGDT) concluded a deal to purchase the former Tomintoul Secondary School.

Now, the trust has received a £349,750 loan from Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and a grant of £157,250 from its recently-launched Growth Challenge.

This will go towards the development of 12 new homes on the old school site.

History of the school

Classrooms in the village were closed 21 years ago following a steady decline in pupil numbers.

Parts of the complex have since been used occasionally by the neighbouring primary school, but the site has been left largely empty for the last two decades.

The former Tomintoul Secondary School.

A private developer had launched plans to knock down the former classrooms, gym hall and dining room to clear the site for housing.

However, it is understood those plans failed to attract enough interest to be viable.

Lack of affordable housing in Tomintoul

A community consultation showed the lack of affordable housing is a key concern for residents, with 82% saying it is a high or very high priority.’

A previous feasibility study revealed a waiting list for 39 council-rented properties in Tomintoul.

Eight of the properties will be retained as community-owned dwellings for let.

Four properties will also be sold on the open market at a discounted rate.

Visualisation of housing at former Tomintoul Secondary School.

Demolition of the old school building was completed in January and the building work is expected to be completed next summer.

The project has received financial backing from a range of investors and grant providers.

These include the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and EDF Renewables’ Dorenell Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

It is also supported through the Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), which will help upgrade energy efficiency measures across the 12 properties.

Strong demand for housing

Tilly Smith, chairwoman of TGDT, said: “Availability of housing in our development area is a significant barrier to population growth and retention, and we know there is strong demand for affordable new homes in the Tomintoul and Glenlivet area.

“The project will bring a dozen new properties to the market, offering a much-needed, long-term solution to help bridge the gap and provide an economic boost for the area.

“Securing the latest funding package represents an important step in our wider regeneration plan, contributing to our broader ambition to create a thriving, sustainable community that will attract future generations to live and work here.”

‘Pleased to support project with clear benefits’

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, added: “The Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust is working hard on an ambitious plan to revive the local community with affordable housing at the core of its plans.

“Feasibility studies have shown that the demand is high, and these 12 new community-owned homes will provide a welcome boost for the community.

“We’re pleased to support a project that will have clear benefits, both in the short term for the tenants who move in, and in the longer term, for the economic prospects of the wider area.

“We are looking forward to supporting TGDT and watching the build progress over the next few months.”

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