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Village Farm Site, Tarland

This site has been undeveloped since it was included in the 2002 Aberdeenshire Local Plan. The landowner, the MacRobert Trust, and the Tarland Community Housing (TCH) project team have been working in partnership to unlock this stalled site.


Community volunteers carried out Housing Needs Surveys to evidence local needs, and to inform the development strategy and housing mix. Plots on the site have been broken up into seven different tenures to reduce risks and open more investment options. The MacRobert Trust has have taken on the role of lead developer to create 36 serviced plots which will be used for a mix of tenures.

  • Two sold as serviced plots by the landowner
  • Six homes built and sold by the landowner on the open market
  • Four homes built by the landowner for market rent
  • Four homes sold to a local housing association to develop homes for shared equity ownership
  • 20 serviced plots sold to the community development company, of which:
    • 10 will be used for community led housing (including a mix of homes for discounted sale, affordable rent, and serviced plots for self-build)
    • 10 developed on a 75-year ground lease to a local housing association for affordable rent.

TCH have secured funding to recruit a Housing Development Officer to drive the project forward. Rural Housing Scotland, Community Housing Scotland and DTAS (Development Trusts Association Scotland) have all helped to ease the process, providing help with community engagement, business planning and helping to ‘knit the deal together.’

Benefits and Lessons Learned

This granular approach involving seven different tenures and a collaborative approach between a community group and a landowner is still untested but has the potential to be replicated across rural Scotland. This open minded and cooperative approach between the community and the landowner has helped to spread the delivery risk for all. Using a long-term ground lease model to reduce the upfront capital cost to a housing association whilst creating long-term income for the community is an exciting novel approach, which could be replicated elsewhere to bring more land forward for housing. The case study highlights that Housing Need Surveys and dedicated support by experienced facilitators can be key factors for success and help to overcome potential barriers. It also highlights how complicated, challenging and time consuming the process can be to unlock rural housing opportunities.

Find Out More

More detail about the challenges and positive outcomes from this project are included in more detail in the report 'The Role of Land in Enabling New Housing Supply in Rural Scotland.'

Village Farm Site, Tarland