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November 6, 2019

Housing and local economies

Arran is well known as a beautiful island and with good connections to the mainland, it has long been a hotspot for holiday homes. Indeed four villages on the island are known to be ‘Dark Villages’ with 80% of houses deemed to be second homes. As a consequence, property prices have been pushed out of the reach of most workers with many forced to move off the island and commute instead. Recognising the threat this poses to the island’s long term prosperity, the local development trust have come up a solution that others may want to replicate.

Arran Development Trust

The Arran Development Trust is delighted to announce that an award of an Offer in Principle Grant of £3.612m from the Rural & Islands Housing Fund has been received.  It is believed to be the largest grant awarded to a community group from this fund.

The £3.612m grant will be used as part of an £8.5m financial package to provide 43 affordable rental houses of between 1 & 4 bedrooms across two sites in the Lamlash area of Arran and will help address the severe lack of affordable housing on the island.

The Arran Development Trust will also be taking forward plans to provide 14 serviced self-build plots in Lamlash, Arran and has received over 60 Expressions of Interest.

The Arran Development Trust Board anticipate the provision of 43 new high quality affordable rental homes will address some of the economic challenges encountered in recent years by depopulation and skills shortages in health & social care, education and the hospitality sectors by encouraging young families to return to the island.

Barry Mochan, Chairman of the Arran Development Trust quotes “This is a wonderful achievement for a community group to secure a grant offer of this magnitude and it will have such a positive immediate impact on the local community.  The local community have wanted and needed this boost for so long and all the hard work getting it to this stage has finally paid off.  We anticipate being in a position to start the build around Spring 2020 and are actively working on this now”.

Bill Calderwood, Chairman of the Arran Community Council quotes “These projects were identified by the community, led by the community and will finally bear fruit for the community.  There have been Arran residents registered on the Common Housing Register for 10 years or more, without hope of securing an affordable rental home, so it is great for them to know that the wait will soon be over”.

Tom Tracey, Chairman of the Arran Economic Group quotes “This is a terrific achievement for the Arran Development Trust and in economic terms, it’ll be a step change in the right direction and a major milestone on a 4 year journey to bring affordable housing to Arran.

Arran will now be able to attract the necessary workforce and provide affordable housing to ensure folks can remain on this beautiful island enjoying one of the highest quality of life ratings in the UK.  The lack and provision of affordable housing will no longer be a constraint on the local economy.”

The Arran Development Trust has been supported in their efforts to secure grant funding by North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Minister for Housing, Local Government & Planning Kevin Stewart, MSP Kenneth Gibson & Local Councillor Timothy Billings.

The Arran Development Trust is a registered Rural Housing Body (registration number 172), a company limited by guarantee (SC553739) and registered with OSCR (SC048480).

For further information contact Sheena Borthwick-Toomey, Secretary of The Arran Development Trust at or 0788 431 4478 mobile or

Tom Tracey, Chairman of The Arran Economic Group at  or 07717 845 755 mobile.

For further information on the work of the Arran Development Trust, Reports and Data go to


Sheena Borthwick

Development Director

Arran Economic Group & Secretary, Arran Development Trust

1st November 2019