Lochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC)
Facts & Figures
LCDC was formed in 2009 in order to revitalise the Lochcarron community to ensure the long term economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability of the Lochcarron community. They acquired and revitalised the 96 hectare Kirkton Wood that lies behind the west coast Highland village to create a thriving community woodland, complete with small business units, a wood-fuel business and a housing plot which is helping to meet local affordable housing demand.
LCDC hasLochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC) also established a stunning and unique treehouse nestled in the treetops above a tranquil river. It is the perfect small venue and used to host community groups, run music sessions, outdoor classrooms, photoshoots, meetings, retreats, arts and crafts groups, and provide a space for those just seeking a wee bit of escapism.
LCDC aims to:
- Manage community land and associated assets for the benefit of the community and the public in general
- To advance the education of the community about its environment, culture and history
- To advance the arts, heritage, culture and science
This is being done through:
- Developing, promoting and encouraging good environmental practices
- Promoting the environment, biodiversity, social and cultural benefits of the area to the community
- Promoting enterprise, skills and development
- Raising awareness of the natural environment through education, events and information
- Safeguarding the history, culture and heritage of the area for generations to come
Charitable company limited by guarantee
Value of assets
Roots & Links
|LCDC has undergone a major evolution over almost three decades as new asset-related opportunities have arisen. The former Lochcarron Smithy Heritage Centre was established 1992 following the gift of a former smithy (then ran as a heritage centre) and the surrounding land a mile east of the village. Seventeen years later in 2009, the organisation was re-established as the Kirkton Woodland and Heritage Group with broader objectives, which included the acquisition of the 96 hectare Kirkton Wood behind the village.
With the benefit of a Highlands and Islands Enterprise-funded Local Development Officer, the group developed its original 1.8 acre site around the Heritage Centre substantially. This involved the creation of a bustling small community woodland, the development of three small business units, and the creation of a £30k treehouse in the woodland (built with the winnings of a Sky TV competition).
The group renamed itself again – to LCDC – and joined the Development Trust Association Scotland to better reflect its broader remit. LCDC later used a Scottish Land Fund grant to purchase the wood, and has successfully implemented its forest plan. As the forest had been very poorly managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, clear-felling was the only option.
Access to the woodland from the village was also poor, so LCDC purchased a housing plot to provide an easy way to enter. This led LCDC to work in partnership with the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust on the development of affordable housing on land just inside the former Forestry Commission forest. With building beginning in 2019, five affordable houses per year are projected to be built for five years, the provision of which will help to meet local housing demand.
An old settlement (Kirkton) has also emerged from the felled forest and the associated “coffin track” is now becoming a focus for community activities and heritage work. Meanwhile LCDC continue to run community events and training at the Heritage Centre site, woodland and treehouse.
|LCDC is operated by a voluntary board of directors assisted by office bearers. Anyone can join as a member and vote at general meetings.
Development Trust Scotland (DTAS), Community Woodland Association, Community Land Scotland, Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Land Fund
- Runs the Smithy Community Hub to generate revenue, and to provide a base for other activities
- Runs Country Day events to raise awareness of the local environment
- Runs a monthly Producers Day Market with local food and crafts
- Runs regular environmental based workshops
- Runs regular volunteer days to maintain the Smithy Community Hub and Treehouse
- Runs ongoing training courses in rural skills, art, craft, cultural and heritage skills
- Conducts and published research into local heritage
Manages the local Development Officer to progress its own projects as well as other community projects.
Smithy Community Hub, the Treehouse
- Established the former Lochcarron Smithy Heritage Centre in 1992
- Developed the original 1.8 acre site around the Heritage Centre substantially into a well-used small community woodland, with the development of three small business units and a £30k treehouse.
- Acquired and revitalised the 96 hectare Kirkton Wood
- Established a wood-fuel business.
- Purchased a housing plot to provide access to the woodland, Working with Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust to develop affordable housing on land next to Kirkton Wood
Uncovered the old Kirkton settlement from the felled forest.
- Housing – rental opportunities via a housing association
- House Plots – an area within the woodland falls within the boundary of the settlement housing zone as per the 2007 Highland Council Lochcarron Development Brief
- Woodland Crofts – potential exists for the creation of woodland crofts or smallholdings
- Micro Business – Firewood, a source of revenue could be derived from the establishment of a local firewood business. Potential also exists to create a biomass (wood chip) business It is recommended that LCDC establish a small scale firewood business
Relocate a local cheesemaking business from across the loch to the woodland site, fulfilling the retiring owners’ wish for the business to remain within the community. This has the potential to become a major tourist attraction on the N Coast 500, as well as providing high-skill jobs and local training.
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