August 9, 2017
The business of trees
Dendrophilia is a condition that afflicts millions of us and, in ever increasing numbers, whole communities. Also known as a love of trees, when communities get involved in the ownership and management of woodlands, the social and environmental benefits that arise from people being more connected with their surrounding nature are enormous. One aspect of the community woodland sector that is perhaps not so well developed is the question of how these assets can make a productive contribution to the local economy. A group based in Argyll, is about to break new ground in this respect.
Two serviced plots with planning permission at Kilfinan Community Forest have been released for sale to self-builders with the aim of addressing the local affordable housing shortage.
Released by Kilfinan Community Forest Company (KCFC), the sites in Tighnabruaich, Argyll, have a sale price of £30k each to interested parties who can demonstrate the relevant skills to build their own home.
KCFC aims to fulfil the vision of a living, working community forest and hopes that by using timber from the forest the projects will keep materials costs down while supporting the local economy through the utilisation of natural resources and local skills.
These initial sales will give KCFC capital to invest in future projects and activities, along with the potential to build additional affordable homes.
Steve Williamson, KCFC’s chair, said: “This project is the first of its kind in community woodland development, and represents everything KCFC stands for in terms of supporting our local economy through utilising the natural resources available. Local people will be able to access much needed affordable housing in an area where there is a real shortage, and, as a social enterprise, fulfil our ambition of creating a living and working community forest, where low value raw materials can be turned into high quality timber homes
“The houses will be located within their own section of the forest, above the attractive community allotments whilst offering stunning views across the Kyles of Bute. This is a unique opportunity for people to live within a vibrant community forest environment, with all sorts of activities going on around them, whilst still retaining a sense of privacy. We urge people to come and visit the forest to see for themselves what’s on offer here.”
Interested parties are firstly asked to read the detailed masterplan and arrange an appointment with KCFC to discuss the opportunity. The next step will be to complete an application form, which will be assessed by an independent judging panel and reviewed against the following criteria: local connection, housing need, commitment to community involvement, and, for self-builders, relevant construction skills.
The housing scheme will be kept ‘affordable’ in perpetuity, through KCFC acting as a Rural Housing Body with first refusal to buy back homes, should the owners want to sell.
Applicants are asked to contact Mick Eyre to arrange an appointment or with any further questions: email@example.com / 01700 811159.