Plockton residents fight to save council house from becoming holiday home
Locals in Plockton, Wester Ross are trying to stop Highland Council from selling one of the last remaining council houses to prevent it from becoming a holiday home, The Herald reports.
Residents are trying to prevent the sale of the council house located in a picturesque village, which was made famous by TV series Hamish Macbeth, as they do not wish the property to become a holiday home.
The house at 14 Harbour Street has recently become vacant after the last tenant who lived in the property for over 30 years has moved into a care home.
Plockton Community Council says that half of the 80 homes in the centre of the village are used either as second homes or are available for letting.
Mary Jane Campbell, chairman of Plockton Community Council, said today: “Last year 13 Harbour Street was sold for £380,000 and number 16 went for £360,000 three years ago. Not many young people can afford those prices on the wages up here. The trouble is homes are getting bought in Plockton for commercial reasons, it is such an attractive village.
“Skye is getting so oversubscribed that visitors are now coming in even greater numbers to Plockton than before, creating more demand for accommodation. The perfect solution for us would be for the housing association to buy it [number 14] or the council to put a family in it. It does need a lot of work to bring it up to scratch though.”
She added: “We have heard that the council plans to sell it. The council bought number 14 over 30 years ago and originally had a family in it, with one remaining member left at the end, who is now in care. The council bought it with the intention of having affordable homes at a time of right-to-buy and to stem the flow.”
Ms Campbell also said: “There is also an age issue. Of the 40 homes that are permanently occupied in the centre, out of the 80, only 10 are owned by people under 60. We have about 300 people in Plockton and we need more young families. But they need affordable homes. There are about 50 holiday homes in the village and 121 occupied homes. Its out of balance. The house prices are inflated because we are such an attractive village.”
Locals have taken to the local “Plockton, Past and Present” Facebook pace to show support for the campaign.
Sandra Homes, who is helping to set up a new development company to help local initiatives, wrote: “There was a need to move very quickly to note our interest in sustaining No 14 as an affordable house for rent.”
A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The council is currently considering the future of 14 Harbour Street, Plockton. No decision has been made regarding the property.”
Earlier in the year, a confrontation was found in the village over cows returning to the street, with a warning that the return of the animals could pose a potential health hazard for children under the age of five and for people aged over 70.