Former Islay police station given new lease of life as affordable housing
Islay residents will soon have more affordable housing options, as major renovation work to convert the former police station in Port Ellen into six self-contained one bedroom and studio flats gets underway.
The £470,000 project is being delivered by The Port Ellen Station which is an associated organisation of the Ian Mactaggart Trust, a charitable enterprise with close links to the inner Hebridean island.
The Port Ellen Station was specifically set-up by Sir John Mactaggart to undertake the private assisted housing scheme on the island.
£180,000 has been made available from Argyll and Bute Council’s Empty Homes and Loan Scheme.
Councillor Robin Currie, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Housing, said: “We have been working with the Trust to explore options to bring this important building back into use. I am delighted that we are able to support the development and that renovation works have now commenced. This really is an exciting project for Islay and will benefit local residents and improve the outlook of the area. It will also sustain the future of the building and bring wider economic and social benefits.
“The police station building itself dates back to 1885 and has been on the Buildings at Risk register since 2010. Without the commitment from the Trust to take action the outcome of the site could have been very different.”
Douglas Mackie, chair of West Highland Housing Association, said: “It is great for our organisation to be associated with a project like this. The energy and drive from Sir John Mactaggart with assistance from Argyll and Bute Council demonstrates positive action to bring back to use a well-known property for housing is very exciting. West Highland are delighted to be involved with this scheme.”
The project’s partners are fully committed to the sustainability of Islay and in particular maximising opportunities for young people. A local lettings plan will be used to prioritise the allocation of flats those aged between 16 and 25 years; assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness; and local residents on low incomes.
It is anticipated that the extensive works will be complete, and the building ready for the first tenants, by the end of July. An open day will be held in September to allow the local community and those involved in the project to see the renovations.