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Living In The Forest

One of the major long-term objectives of KCFC is to show that sustainable living in a woodland setting can be affordable and accessible to all. We maintain that to have a ‘living forest’ you need to have people living in the forest. We’re also aware how critical it is to create genuinely affordable homes for local people. The average household income in the area is low yet house prices remain high.

After a number of consultations, both formal and informal, we’ve created a Housing Master Plan that uses innovative design to provide sustainable, modern housing that’s affordable, practical and inspiring. The houses are designed so that substantial parts of the houses can be built using wood from the forest and processed on site in the saw mill. As well as providing genuinely affordable homes, this housing project will create training opportunities and jobs locally and could provide a model for communities facing similar issues in Scotland and beyond.

We’re offering both ready-built homes and self-build plots for those who have the desire and practical skills to build the houses themselves. Ease of build is central to the design, as this will cut labour costs and make it a simpler process for those who want to self-build.

The Housing Master Plan was approved in July 2015 by the Argyll and Bute Council Planning Committee. There are still a number of ​approvals to obtain, but we should be in a position to offer plots before the summer and houses by the end of the year (2016). Initially two ready-built homes and two self-build plots will be made available, and we hope to offer more in the future.

The design
Unlike traditional affordable homes, the plots are large (around 2000 square metres) and the houses spacious. All single-storey buildings, the houses have been designed to sit sympathetically within the landscape. All new houses, including the self-built homes, will follow the same design template to create a cohesive and appealing look with a low visual impact. Chris Morris and Greig Lockheart of Hive Design Studio have provided valuable assistance in this area, helping us create what we hope will be inspiring new homes.

A range of sizes will be offered over time and the design of the houses is such that internal layouts can be easily changed. Built to modern building standards, the owners will benefit from all the latest developments in energy efficient design. Subject to building warrant, we hope to include a wood-fuelled heating system in all the houses.

Ready-built housing
Ready-built homes will be offered for sale at a discount, primarily to those with a local connection in housing need. These houses will belong to their owners but with an ownership clause, ensuring they remain affordable in perpetuity.

Self-build plots
Serviced plots will be offered to those who see self-build as their best route into the woods. The plots will be sold with planning permission, detailed design and a building warrant, relieving potential self-builders of many of the bureaucratic hurdles that can increase self-build costs while ensuring the overall woodland housing design concept is retained. Similar ownership conditions regarding preserving affordability will apply.

Woodland crofts
Finally, for those with a real desire to live and work in the woods, we plan to create a number of woodland crofts similar to this: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/woodlandcrofts.

We’re still in the planning stage and are currently deciding on exact eligibility criteria, likely prices etc. However, if you have an interest in taking on a croft tenancy, please contact Nikki Brown on nikki@kilfinancommunityforest.com or 01700 811159, as we will soon be in a position to receive croft plans and registration forms. Check out woodlandcrofts.org for further info on woodland crofts!

If you would like more information about housing or wold like to register your interest, please contact Rob on 01700 811159 or rob.borruso@kilfinancommunityforest.com.

Download the Housing Master Plan here.



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Registered Office: Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll PA21 2BD, Scotland | Company No: 333208 | Charity No: SCO38908
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