After years of filling in forms, digging up holes, looking down drains and generally chipping away, we finally took ownership of Achiltibuie Schoolhouse 0n Friday 16th October.
The house has been vacant for a few years now and has suffered from lack of maintenance but it is basically sound. And placed as it is – next to the school and the community hall it will make a big difference to that little corner if the schoolhouse is restored to former glory.
The next step is to to lease the house to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who will take over the refurbishment and convert the house into two smart, modern and comfortable flats: a two-bedroom upstairs, and a one-bedroom downstairs. HSCHT, who has all the relevant experience and expertise, will manage the tenancies and the property and we hope to see two new households in Coigach within the year.
Funding has been secured from the Nationwide Shelter Empty Homes Initiative which will go some way towards the refurbishment but not all, so we are pursuing other avenues, and Scottish Land Fund are helping with the legal costs. Although the purchase price was only £1, there are of course many other expenses! Read more →
Following a meeting (open to all those on Coigach’s electoral roll) on Thursday 14th May in Achiltibuie, and extensive community consultation the directors of CCDC have agreed not to pursue re-registration of Community Interest in the former hydroponicum site. Whatever happens to the land now, we hope it will will bring some benefit to the community in another way – and CCDC has several other projects on the go which are keeping us busy.
Achiltibuie Schoolhouse: we we will soon be taking over ownership from The Highland Council adn will then lease the property to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who will refurbish the building and convert it into two rentable flats.
Former Achiltibuie Smokehouse: since Summer Isles Foods packed up and moved to Alness, the empty building is now in community ownership. We have appointed Alison SInclair as the new Development Officer who will take this project further towards refurbishment and a new lease of life.
Community wind turbine and hydro scheme: we now have Locogen (a multi-disciplinary energy company) on the case so we’re making progress on these all-important projects that will in turn help fund all the other things we have to do.
Old Dornie Harbour: needs extensive improvements to make it fit for purpose as it is essential to our local fishing, fish-farming and leisure industries and we need to find funding to do this. Eventually the income from the renewables projects will help.
Broadband: connectivity is as important in Coigach as it is anywhere – perhaps more so given our remote location so we want to make sure our community doesn’t get left behind.
Paths: in partnership with Coigach Assynt Living Landscape we are working on improvements and developments to the local paths network to improve infrastructure for visitors and locals alike.
Acheninver Youth Hostel: this is SYHA’s last year of leasing the building however we hope to help owners Scottish Wildlife Trust find new tenants as we don’t want to lose this iconic facility that has been bringing visitors to Coigach for about 70 years or more.
And we have the office to tidy up….
And perhaps also time for a little reminder that CCDC’s directors are hard-working volunteers who put in many hours of their valuable time for the benefit of the wider community. We’d all like to wish Peter Muir all the best on his retirement and thank him for the many years of work he has contributed – both as employee and the countless extra time he has put in particularly in regards to our renewables projects. And thanks too to Ben Walton, who has been our treasurer for the past four years and has now stepped down as a volunteer director.
Here’s who we are:
Chair – Iain Muir
Vice Chair – Iain Scott
Anne Campbell, Local Development Officer
Linda Macleod currently standing in for Anne Campbell as Local Development Officer who is on sick leave
Alison Sinclair, Smokehouse Development Officer
Julia Campbell, Local Development Officer
And we have over 100 members – that’s over half the community!