> Rural Housing
Edinglassie Estate, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, as well as being home to a cattle and sheep farming enterprise has had a long tradition of supplying low cost rural housing for local workers, and businesses alike.
The estate has worked towards a vision of a thriving agricultural enterprise, providing long term, stable employment and superior housing at affordable levels to rural workers and their families. The estate is the largest employer in the parish and holds the largest stock of private affordable homes for rent in the wider district.
There are currently 5 properties occupied by estate employees with a further 7 let at affordable rates to local families, and one holiday cottage. The housing stock was renovated in the 1980s and 1990s and brought old ruins back into use, with additional refurbishment work carried out in recent years. A feasibility study is underway to examine whether any new, low cost eco-friendly properties could be built on the estate, and plans are in place to bring some of the properties that are in ruins back in to use.
With 3 of the properties already heated by the biomass system that was installed in 2008, Malcolm is keen to continue with ‘green’ initiatives. The biomass uses locally sourced woodchip to further reduce the carbon footprint of the estate.
Malcolm said: ‘Many of my tenants work for the council. They were brought up in the countryside, and don’t want to live in town, where most of the low-cost housing is based. There are also people who have set up small businesses and the rent for them is very low by commercial standards. If we did charge proper commercial rents on the houses and outbuildings, they’d just go out of business – it would be a disaster’.
Overall, the estate has a healthy mix of owner occupied, tenanted, holiday and employees’ houses and this balance is critical to the viability of the local community and maintaining healthy numbers at the parish primary school.