The community-run organisation has been managing development on the island of Eigg, one of the Small Isles, since a historic buyout in 1997.
HIE has awarded EHT £40,000 towards the cost of acquiring the former GP surgery buildings and adjoining land on the Isle of Eigg.
John Macdonald, from HIE’s community assets team, said:
“With the increase in population since Eigg became community-owned, the trust has focused on building capacity to ensure growth is sustained through the provision of economic, social and cultural opportunities.
“The two energy-efficient homes eventually created in this project will go part-way to addressing the need for affordable housing on the island, which is crucial to stabilising and increasing the island’s population and to retain its young people.
“Affordable housing has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live. We are very pleased to support this purchase and look forward to seeing the houses developed and lived in.”
Eigg has a small population, numbering around 100 people, but local site conditions and lack of services mean finding new sites to develop is difficult and expensive.
Jonathan Jobson – development officer for the Trust said:
“When we knew the GP surgery might be available, we got in touch with NHS Highland to discuss whether it might be suitable to convert into a home for someone on our waiting list. A site adjoining was then also made available which meant we could also include a new build home too. This means we will have two new homes which we will let at an affordable rent to local people and families. We can’t thank our local MSP Kate Forbes, the Rural and Islands Housing Fund, NHS and HIE enough for all their support.’
Now the Trust own the properties, they have applied for planning permission and it is hoped that work will start to convert the surgery and build the new house in late Summer 2021.
HIE and the Rural and Islands Housing Fund have helped fund the feasibility work and acquisition costs.