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Westray housing project gets £380k cash boost

Westray Development Trust has received £380k to aid its renovation of the former harbour master’s house. (Westray Development Trust)

A community housing project in Westray has been awarded £380,000 by the Scottish Government.

The Bayview housing project, helmed by Westray Development Trust aims to convert a two story property on the island into four flats for affordable rent.

The trust purchased Bayview from Orkney Islands Council in 2019 with funding support from the Scottish Land Fund. The renovation work will bring the empty former Harbour Master’s house back into use as well as diversify and increase the housing available on the island. The renovation work will be undertaken by local contractors bringing work to the community.

Now the project has benefited from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund, to the tune of £380,000.

Andrew Seatter, chairman of Westray Development Trust said: “On behalf of the Westray Development Trust, I would like to say a huge thank you to the Rural and Islands Housing Fund for supporting this much needed project in our community.

“The Bayview housing project will offer new homes for people to rent, at an affordable rate, and therefore hopefully retain locals in the Isle, and give folk from outside the community an option to move here for work.

“Without funding of this scale from the Rural and Islands Housing Fund, this project simply would not have been viable, and for that, we are incredibly grateful.”

Councillor Gwenda Shearer, chairwoman of OIC education, leisure and housing committee, has also welcome progress on the project.

She said: “The council was delighted to support and assist the Westray Development Trust on this project and it’s great news they have been awarded the funding to complete the project that will be really beneficial to the local community.”

Meanwhile, Scottish housing minister, Kevin Stewart, has applauded this community effort in one of Orkney’s most northerly islands.

“This ambitious project shows what a community can achieve when empowered to take local decisions,” he said.

“Supported by £380,000 from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund, these new homes will grow and sustain the community as well as providing safe, warm and affordable places to live.

“We recognise that good quality, affordable housing is essential to help attract and retain people in Scotland’s rural and island communities.”

To learn more about Westray Development Trust and the Bayview project, you can contact Westray Development Trust operations manager Isobel Thompson by emailing isobel@westraydevelopmenttrust.co.uk