Four housing projects shortlisted in Scottish Land & Estates awards
Four Scottish housing projects have been named finalists in the Scotland-wide Helping it Happen Awards 2021.
Now in its fifth year, the Helping it Happen Awards have become firmly established in recognising the role of estates, businesses and community groups who are helping rural Scotland thrive. The awards are managed by rural business organisation, Scottish Land & Estates and sponsored by GLM.
The four finalists in the ‘Rural Housing Award’ category, which is sponsored by Velux, are:
Atholl Estates, Blair Atholl, Perthshire
Atholl Estates is the largest provider of rented housing in Highland Perthshire and as one of the main landowners in the region, Atholl Estates recognises its role to work with the Local Authority, National Park, Housing Associations, Scottish Water and Community Councils to develop a balanced development plan for the area which seeks to address issues around competitively sought-after properties. 284 houses are leased to private families, estate staff and let-farm staff.
Recently, the culmination of a six-year collaborative project between Atholl Estates and the Scottish Government through the Rural Affordable Housing Fund saw eight two-bedroom cottages designed to be highly energy efficient and low maintenance. Heating in the new homes is supplied via ‘smart’ electrical radiators that sense when there is spare energy on the national grid which can be used at a low tariff. While low maintenance both inside and out makes the homes durable and easily managed, both for tenants and the estate, over the long term.
Communities Housing Trust, near Aviemore, Highlands
Communities Housing Trust is a registered charity working with communities to provide affordable housing and amenities in remote and rural places throughout central and northern Scotland. They take a collaborative, partnership approach which was demonstrated in the Old Sawmill project at Rothiemurchus Estate.
It’s an excellent example of a win-win collaboration on estate land to secure affordable housing using self-build, within the Cairngorms National Park. The four affordable homes were individual self-build projects and hence differ slightly. One is a panel kit-home, with high wall insulation; some are timber frame, as fuel- and energy-efficient as possible, with triple glazing and air-source heat pumps. One has solar photovoltaics, with more to follow suit, and EPCs on the homes range from B+ to A.
Hudson Hirsel, Coldstream, Scottish Borders
After teaming up with Jamie Hudson, a surveyor to trade, Hudson Hirsel was established by Douglas and Angus Estates as an “in-house” development company to create a conservation style community on the outskirts of the Hirsel Estates in Coldstream. After ten years, this “startup” company has become an award-winning housebuilder with a multi-million-pound turnover.
Hudson Hirsel employs as many organisations and individuals as possible from the Scottish Borders, thereby ensuring local employment and boosting the local economy. They also build affordable housing and have worked with the local council to deliver a bespoke approach. Hudson Hirsel scooped a ‘Judges’ Special Award’ in the Helping it Happen Awards 2020 for their outstanding work in house building in rural Scotland.
Richmond Fellowship Scotland, Todhill, Ayrshire
The Richmond Fellowship Scotland is a charity which supports around 2500 people across Scotland with a broad range of needs to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities. They are the largest provider of social care services in Scotland. The Fellowship has recently built 21 new homes at Todhill, completed in June 2021.
With designs influenced by the semi-rural setting and agricultural heritage of Todhill, the one-bedroom apartments provide contemporary living and practical support environments. The personalised support on offer at Todhill includes a dedicated member of The Richmond Fellowship Scotland’s specialist Positive Behaviour Support Team. This means that the homes and services are suitable for people with complex support needs.
Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “After another difficult year for many businesses and individuals, the entries in the Helping it Happen Awards have shown how resilient, resourceful and passionate individuals, rural businesses and organisations are in order to make a positive contribution to society. With four finalists in the Rural Housing Award category this year, it’s clear that Scotland is home to people and organisations which benefit those across Scotland by providing employment, high quality housing and helping Scotland meet its environmental goals.
“This year’s entries have provided us with so many inspiring stories and we are pleased that the Helping It Happen Awards are firmly established as a way of recognising how Scotland’s diverse people and businesses are making a vital contribution.”
This year, there are ten award categories including a new ‘Business Resilience Award’. A full list of the award categories and finalists from across Scotland is attached.
The winners will be announced in a live virtual ceremony on October 27 at 7pm, which anyone is welcome to tune in to via the Scottish Land & Estates website.