The Former Hydroponicum and other news

Spring cleaning!

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:

Volunteer Directors:
Chair – Iain Muir

Vice Chair – Iain Scott

Phil Shaughnessy

Ann Macleod

Steve Husband

Employees:

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!

Great News for the Achiltibuie Smokehouse from the Scottish Land Fund!

Sheep Comment

Our bid for funding from the Scottish Land Fund has been successful: this means we have 95% of the purchase price of £110k and funding for a project officer  to drive forward plans for redevelopment of the former Achiltibuie Smokehouse building. Watch this space for details but in the meantime here is the press release from the Big Lottery Fund:

Scottish Land Fund Grants Awarded

A community in Wester Ross is one of four today (FRI 22 FEB) taking control of their future, thanks to the new Scottish Land Fund, as the first grants are announced.

Launched last year, the £6 million Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Today’s awards, of over £3/4 million, in Wester Ross, Cowal, Moray Firth, and the Borders means these four communities can now purchase land and assets ensuring they are able to shape their own brighter future.

Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “We know from experience that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and land assets. So I am delighted to announce this first round of funding to these three projects and look forward to seeing them develop. Land ownership helps build independent, resilient and confident communities which benefits, not only themselves, but the country as a whole. The Scottish Land Fund, with funding over three years, aims to empower more rural communities, giving them the tools and resources they need so they can achieve their plans of local sustainability.”

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Environment said, “I am delighted that the Scottish Land Fund is empowering four of our rural communities in Moray Firth, Cowal, Wester Ross and the Borders to take control of their own future by helping them to acquire land and community assets. These innovative and diverse projects will bring clear long term benefits, making each community stronger, resilient and more sustainable. I would urge other communities to look at these projects – three of which are achieved through the community right to buy provisions and the National Forest Land Scheme – to see how community land ownership and funding from the Scottish Land Fund can make a real difference to them.”

 

Achiltibuie is a remote crofting and fishing community in the Coigach area of Wester Ross. Thanks to today’s Scottish Land Grant of £160,700 the Coigach Community Development Company can purchase Achiltibuie Smokehouse land and buildings and ensure community control of any future development. Ownership of the land and building presents significant potential business growth and employment opportunities for the area. Plans have still to be finalised but it is envisaged that the site will be designed to provide a flexible space accommodating food and tourism industries.

Ian Muir, Chairman, Coigach Community Development Company, said, “This is great news. This time last year we learned that our biggest employer and tourist attraction, Summer Isle Foods, was moving to Alness and, with all these jobs going, things looked gloomy. A year on and, thanks to this funding, we can complete the purchase of the smokehouse they vacated. It’s a very exciting time for us all and we look forward to establishing a vibrant new business to bring employment to the community.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is delivering the Scottish Land Fund in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise is delighted to be playing a part in delivering the Scottish Land Fund, along with our colleagues in Big Lottery Fund Scotland. These first four grants, each for very different projects, will empower these community groups and help them to determine their own futures. This announcement is only the beginning of the journey for these groups and for the Land Fund itself.”

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