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Nith Valley Leaf Trust

16 December 2013

Nith Valley Leaf Trust was awarded £35,000 from the  SSE Clyde Community Benefit Fund on 2013, towards the purchase of a new-build three bedroomed house in Closeburn, Dumfries and Galloway. The house will be let on a short-term lease to maintain flexibility and the monthly rent will be pitched at an affordable rate. 

Currently local people on waiting lists for affordable housing are often relocated to available housing in other areas, thereby losing links with their home community. Nith Valley Leaf Trust will be able to allocate their house to families with a local connection, thereby enabling community links to be maintained.

In 2012, a private development in Closeburn of 22 new houses for sale was proposed, with provision for 4 low cost houses within this scheme. This development is adjacent to a similar 2011 housing scheme of social homes for rent, managed by Loreburn Housing Association. Unfortunately these houses for rent are not easily available for families with connections to Closeburn because housing associations are bound by national housing regulations, which mean that people from outside the community often get priority because of their needs.

NVLT worked in partnership with Loreburn Housing Association and Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust to identify an opportunity to purchase one of the properties in the new development and create an allocations policy for this with an emphasis on local connection. The purchase will be completed in December 2013, with the property ready to let in early 2014. 

The Trust estimate that 30 local families could benefit from this social housing project over the 90 year life of the house. Longer tem, this initiative could have a significant impact on the community, as it may allow more young people to live and work in the local areas.

Mike Steele, a Director of Nith Valley Leaf Trust, said “At the moment there is a real lack of affordable homes for local people who wish to stay locally. This project will enable us to retain the next generation in our small rural community. If it works well, we hope to extend the project by buying more homes for affordable rent in the future”.

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