With a magnificent National Trust for Scotland eighteenth-century mansion at its centre, the Haddo Estate in lowland Aberdeenshire has dedicated centuries to farming, forestry management, sustainable development and countryside sports. In addition to these central themes the estate has undergone an energetic programme of housing renovation and regeneration in its recent history and is now home to a great many families drawn from far and wide by the beautiful surroundings and welcoming atmosphere offered by the estate.
The current laird, Lord Aberdeen, has made a valuable contribution by carrying out several larger housing developments through Braiklay Estates in Tarves, Methlick and other parts of the North East, providing homes and affordable housing to hundreds of families.
Haddo Estate recently added to the provision of affordable housing in Methlick, Aberdeenshire through the Rural Homes for Rent scheme and most recently Aberdeenshire Council funding which enabled an additional four one-bed homes to be developed.
The estate developed these latest properties with the support of funding from Aberdeenshire Council’s affordable housing developer contributions budget. This funding was provided on a grant agreement with similar terms to those that were in place for the Rural Homes for Rent Scheme such as a 30-year period that the homes must be made available, rent levels set below the Local Housing Allowance rate, nominations agreements, and robust maintenance and management agreements.
This method is an efficient and effective use of funding to deliver affordable housing in rural areas. The funding per unit is below that of social housing and the estate is responsible for the development and ongoing management. New tenants in these properties have commented positively on the quality of the houses and are enjoying being able to access affordable housing in the area. On average, house tenants stay for over seven years, reflecting a desire to be associated with such pleasant surroundings. Lord Aberdeen considers himself a custodian of a “special place” which, above all, is a home to many people.
Cllr Anne Allan, Chair of Social Work & Housing Committee said: “We are delighted to be working with Haddo Estate on this innovative project to provide housing in the Methlick area. This is just another example of Aberdeenshire Council working in partnership with others to provide affordable housing across Aberdeenshire.
Cllr Raymond Christie Vice Chair of Social Work & Housing Committee added: “People often forget that affordable housing is just as much of an issue in rural areas as it is in towns and cities. The shortage of houses to rent in particular can be a real problem. By working with the Haddo Estate we are able to provide rented accommodation for people in Methlick.”
Commenting on the development, Lord Aberdeen said: “My family and I are aware of the need for affordable homes to serve the local community and we are delighted to be able to provide four additional one bed flats with Aberdeenshire Council’s financial assistance.”