New home for WAT IF?
WAT IF? (Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation) has taken its first step into the property market by purchasing a three-bedroom house in the rural village of Tarbrax.
WAT IF? plans to refurbish the property and convert it into an affordable rental to meet local housing needs. Work is expected to start on the house next summer with new tenants in place by the end of the year.
The house purchase follows on from a Housing Need and Demand survey conducted in partnership with Rural Housing Scotland in early 2017. The survey highlighted significant housing need in the area, and showed support from the local community for more affordable properties.
Seventeen respondents said that they would have a need for housing in the next two years that currently the local market cannot meet. There are no council houses in the WAT IF? area (an area covering the rural villages of Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax and the surrounding rural settlements) and only very few Housing Association properties.
Added to this, the majority of properties are owner occupied or privately leased, and with only 350 houses in the whole area, it can be difficult to find suitable housing. A further pressure on the housing market is the relatively high number of empty and derelict properties.
WAT IF? are delighted that this purchase brings a previously empty property back into use. The issue of empty and derelict properties is a blight in many areas, but has a particular impact in small communities where an empty or rundown house can impact the whole village.
Jemma Black, WAT IF? Development Officer said:
"By bringing this building back into use, WAT IF? are not only able to create a much-needed home for someone, we are also able to contribute to the regeneration of the whole village. The Trust is applying to the Scottish Government's Rural Housing Fund for funding for the project, which will ensure that the home will remain affordable in perpetuity."
Pat Mavor, WAT IF? Chair added:
"We are very excited to start our WAT IF? Homes project with the purchase of our first property. Having affordable homes in the area is so important, ensuring that residents can afford to stay in the area, whilst also attracting new people to live here."
WAT IF? is a passionate, locally-based organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents in their part of rural South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. The Trust covers the villages of Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax as well as a significant number of smaller settlements within a 5km radius of Stallashaw Moss.
For further information, or to find out how you could get involved, please visit http://www.watif.scot/.