Minister visits pioneering rural housing development in Coldstream

A Government minister visited a pioneering housing development in Coldstream as he looks to increase the supply of new homes in rural Scotland.
Anna Gardiner (Sle), Jamie Hudson, Housing Minister Paul Mclennan, Sarah Jane Laing (Ceo, Sle)Anna Gardiner (Sle), Jamie Hudson, Housing Minister Paul Mclennan, Sarah Jane Laing (Ceo, Sle)
Anna Gardiner (Sle), Jamie Hudson, Housing Minister Paul Mclennan, Sarah Jane Laing (Ceo, Sle)

Minister for Housing, Paul McLennan MSP, enjoyed a tour of the Hirsel Estate, which is part of Douglas & Angus Estates, in Coldstream.

The area has seen a significant programme of housebuilding through the development and building vehicle, Hudson Hirsel LLP.

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At Crooks Farm on the Hirsel Estate, an affordable housing project is under development for nine new one and two-bedroom homes, five of which are nearing completion.

In a larger development at Leet Haugh, planning was ultimately obtained for 149 units across two phases, of which 100 units have already been completed. These include flats, terraced, semi-detached and detached houses with two, three and four bedrooms.

Mr McLennan met with Jamie Hudson, managing partner at Hudson Hirsel and representatives from rural business organisation, Scottish Land & Estates, to discuss their work.

The challenges of the planning process, location and s.75 development contributions were among the key topics as part of wider discussion on methods of enabling rural housing development.

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Cost and delivery challenges – such as design, infrastructure and workforce – were also considered as was the advantage of scale for Hudson Hirsel being able to undertake what is a large housebuilding project for a rural area.

Mr McLennan said: “I was pleased to visit the Hudson Hirsel development in Coldstream and to see progress with the delivery of more affordable homes in the area. Everyone should have access to a safe, warm and affordable home and have a choice about where they live, no matter what tenure they live in.

“Good quality housing is essential to attract and retain people in rural and island communities.”

Jamie Hudson from Hudson Hirsel said:“Developing more than 150 new homes in a rural area has been a huge undertaking and we are really pleased that Mr McLennan was able to take the time to visit and learn more about the challenges and successes we have experienced since our first planning permission was received back in 2011.

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“From seeking inclusion in the Local Development Plan right through to the cost challenges of developer contributions and maintaining a workforce and contractors in a rural area, the process is extremely complex and requires both the will and financial backing to see the development through to fruition. There are aspects within planning that could undoubtedly be streamlined to encourage more rural homes to be built and we’re grateful for the Minister having that dialogue with us.”

Anna Gardiner, policy advisor (Rural Property) at Scottish Land & Estates, added: “The work that Hudson Hirsel and Douglas & Angus Estates have undertaken is outstanding but in many respects, it is the exception rather than the rule. We need to do more to encourage the building of new homes on both a small and larger scale and recognising the planning and financial challenges that exist is a key part of addressing that conundrum.”

Hudson was also behind the housing development at The Grange in Berwick.

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