Housing: We have a property available for let

Housing Phase 4: Rullinvoe. Property to let In the Summer of 2023, we were approached by a local wishing to sell her house to the Trust. We did a quick community consultation and got the feedback that this was something we should pursue. We successfully secured funding from the Scottish Land Fund, the Rural Housing Fund, and the Orkney Islands Council to purchase and renovate the property. Renovation work began in March 2024.

During the renovation, we discovered that there was no insulation under the floor when parts of it were dug up for pipework. To ensure the home would be as warm and efficient as possible, we decided to excavate the entire floor and install proper insulation. Additionally, we opted to install underfloor heating to further enhance the home’s efficiency. We also included a heat recovery system to maintain optimal air circulation, making the home even more energy-efficient and comfortable.

Rulinvoe is on course to be complete around mid-August, so we have asked Drever and Heddle to begin the advertising phase so that we can hopefully have a family appointed by the time the new school year starts! If you have a young family and are keen to move to Shapinsay, please get in touch with Drever and Heddle https://www.dandhlaw.co.uk/property/lets/rulinvoe-2-balfour-village-shapinsay-kw17-2dx Please share far and wide!

Below are the latest pictures of the ground floor as of 17/06/24

Housing Phase 3: Spyan Brae – Originally intended to be phase 2 of our housing plan, our Spyan Brae site was purchased with help from the Scottish Land Fund. As we are open to adapting as new opportunities arise and this was always going to be a longer term (5 year) project, it made sense to push it back to phase 3. Phase 3 is for 2 semi-detached 3-bedroom family homes and 2 semi-detached 2-bedroom homes for young people. With the Spyan Brae site, we hope to also include 3 serviced plots to help young folk in Shapinsay to get into the property ladder. This is a big site with big plans, so watch out for more information on other parts of the website and in the Shapinsay Sound.

Housing Phase 2: Balfour Cottage – SDT undertook a housing needs assessment for phase 2 of the housing project. This gave the clear indication that more housing for families is required on the island, but housing for young people and the elderly are almost equally important. The trust will continue to look into all available options as they come up and adapt as required. With that in mind, when the Trust were approached with an opportunity to purchase Balfour Cottage, our board were in favour and the members were consulted. Meeting the needs of the local elderly population was foremost in our minds with plans to create housing for young folk in families at our Spyan site. We consulted our members about the opportunity and the overwhelming majority were in favour of buying the property and creating 3 self contained, fully accessible units with a 1-bedroom unit on the end that could be used for an overnight carer if required.

We were successful in securing a grant from SLF towards the purchase and took ownership at the end of February 2023. We are now in the planning stages to see what direction we take next, keep an eye in the newsletter for updates. Community consultation was done, 2 open days were held and the results of the consultation were that a large majority of people who visited the site and saw its condition, and those who replied to the survey, felt that knocking the house down, but rebuilding it to look the same, was the best option due to the fact that the roof needs to come off, the floor needs to come up, the chimney walls will have to come down etc, meaning that there is very little of the original stone work left and the walls will need picked, pointed and re-finished, windows and doors all need replaced. The consensus was that Balfour Cottages should remain looking like Balfour Cottages, but with an upgrade to modern standards. Another advantage is that the tenants will have far more space within their homes if we rebuild it rather than renovate it, one room alone goes from 17m2 to 26m 2 by changing the walls to modern insulated kit rather than old thick stone walls. The last huge advantage with starting again is that there is a 20% saving on VAT for new builds. The plans went into planning in November 2023, so we will wait and see what the decision is from the council. As of June 2024 we are still waiting for planning!

HOUSING PHASE 1: SDT’s Housing Needs Assessment Report undertaken in October 2017 demonstrated that there was a need for affordable Housing in Shapinsay.

In May 2019 SDT was successful in securing a Scottish Land Fund Stage 1 Feasibility grant to undertake further consultation work around the potential location of affordable housing, which ruled out new-build. This consultation also helped us to identify the need to attract young families to Shapinsay.

After further consultation with the community, we turned our attention to purchasing existing properties that had been on the market for over a year, and with grant funding from Scottish Land Fund (Stage 2), were able to purchase two properties in Balfour village: Number 9 in July 2020 and the Schoolhouse in January 2021

Working with a local architect, we put together a list of works required to completely renovate both properties, including extensive insulation and efficient heating systems, and used this to successfully apply to the Rural Housing Fund for grant aid for the works. The Greener homes fund also funded extra insulation, doors and double glazed windows.

At this point the work for each property was put out to tender and local contractors were successful.

Work commenced on number 9 in July 2020 and a little later due to technical problems on the Schoolhouse in February 2021

In July 2020 we created a Housing Subgroup of the Trust, specifically to liaise with the Project Manager in order to ensure the project was on schedule regarding time and budget and to liaise with other relevant agencies, in particular OIC and a Social Housing Manager in order to give informed decisions and feedback to SDT Board.

The Board at this point, approached D&H to be the lettings agency for both properties.

The subgroup, with assistance from OIC and D&H, developed a local lettings policy with a points system weighted to attracting young families to Shapinsay.

Number 9 was completed around May 2021 and is currently occupied by a family.

The Schoolhouse has been completed in July 2021 and is currently occupied by a family.

If you are interested in relocating to Shapinsay and have children of Primary School age, please get in touch.

9 Balfour Village Shapinsay in 2022- The house is now occupied by a lovely family.

Ever dreamt of moving your family to a Scottish Island? Of becoming an important part of a tight-knit, warm and welcoming community while having breath-taking scenery just beyond your doorstep?

The Shapinsay Development Trust is looking for a family to move to the Orkney island of Shapinsay and take up residence in a beautiful, trust-owned home in the heart of the main village.

The search is on for a family with 2+ Primary school-age children to play a vital role in keeping the Shapinsay Community School staffed with two teachers and help keep the school roll up. 

Shapinsay has been very fortunate to see so many great families make use of the school. Over the years, a fantastic relationship between families and the school staff has developed. 

The school itself received an absolutely glowing inspector’s report in 2015, finding the staff using innovative practices that Education Scotland would like to see used in other schools. The school also earned a Gold sports award from SportScotland in 2018 for its commitment to sports.

Head teacher of the school Emma Clements said: “Shapinsay School provides a small school experience, but with big opportunities. We have small numbers in our classes, and we strive to give every child an individual experience, according to their needs. We encourage the children to become independent thinkers who are able to take real responsibility. 

“Children take part in pupil groups which set their own targets, and make a difference to the life of the school. Children of all ages also get opportunities to work together, which means that the school has a family atmosphere.

“More children attending the school would mean that it  is able to retain two primary classes going forward. The school is a big part of the community, taking part in community events. In turn,  the community supports the school in many different ways.

“New children and families coming to the school help the children to make new friendships and to learn about different places. New families are included in the life of the school and the community.”

The trust has a traditionally Orcadian, three-bedroom house for rent for only £500 per month. The property has very recently been modernised to a high standard on the inside. Using a grant from the Green Homes fund, the trust has been able to put in double glazing, high quality insulation and efficient air source heating.

Shapinsay has all the benefits of island life: space to yourself, a strong community and, of course, incredible scenery that you can only find on an island. The island’s 300-or-so inhabitants also have a strong and supportive community which comes together for many annual events from Ceilidhs and dances, to bingo, coffee afternoons, drawing clubs, film clubs and so much more. The big event of the year is the annual agricultural show held every August.

The island is just 25 minutes away by ferry from the Orkney Mainland. After 6pm the Shapinsay Development Trust run a small boat service to allow for all the benefits of living on the mainland, with all the tranquility and sense of community that comes with staying on a small island

Shapinsay has all the basic services you would expect, such as a school, doctors surgery, healthy living centre, community centre, post office and a well-stocked local shop, selling everything from petrol to all the refillable, like milk, nuts, honey and so much more. All of this is within walking distance of the pier!

The island boasts a range of historic sites, such as the iconic, eighteenth-century Balfour Castle. The influence of the man behind the castle, David Balfour, can be seen all over Shapinsay and the area’s rich history is worth learning more about. Check out Shapinsay.org.uk for more information.

Lisa-Marie Muir, from the Shapinsay Development Trust said:

“We know there is a family out there who would be an ideal match for Number 9 and welcoming new children to the school would be a boost felt throughout our community.

“It may be that for some, the idea of moving to an island and adopting the unique lifestyle seems out of reach. But, with the way that people are working from home these days it really is easier than ever for someone to make the move.

“Shapinsay is such a safe place to bring up your bairns, you never need to worry about where they are and what they are up to. They spend their summers in wetsuits, swimming at the pier or the beach, or cycling all over the island. In normal times, there’s always something for them to do during the winter – from football to badminton and youth club to climbing. Hopefully we will get back to that level of activity very soon!”

“We were so excited to see work completed on Number 9 and to be able to let it. We would be over-the-moon to find the right people to make it their home.”

Shapinsay Development Trust bought No9 along with another house and renovated them to a high standard, as part of their five-year development plan to create affordable housing on the island. “There were times, during the pandemic, where we wondered if we would ever get to this stage, but we are delighted to get to completion and finally be ready to rent the house out to a lovely family”

Serena Sutherland, of letting agents d and h, said: “The property really does offer the perfect opportunity for a family to have a true experience of island life, without the commitment of buying a new house.

“With two living rooms, an enclosed yard at the back of the house and a front garden with sea views, the school and the playpark just a stone’s throw away, the property has everything a family could want in a home in the islands while the fact that it has recently been modernised means it is comfortable and everything is in good working-order.”

d and h are delighted to play a part in the process of boosting the Shapinsay community.

To express in interest in renting the property please contact d and h on 01856 872216 or email enquiries@dandhlaw.co.uk