In 2020, The Dufftown and District Community Association (DDCA), supported by the Communities Housing Trust (CHT), carried out a housing needs and demand analysis in Dufftown. This showed that there is a substantial need for quality, affordable housing in our community. Since then, we have formed a partnership with Moray Council to deliver affordable housing on the Hillside Farm development site in Dufftown. This will include a mix of DDCA community-led homes and Council social rented housing, with the remainder of the site likely to be private owner-occupancy housing.
The first phase of the project is to develop a concept masterplan for the site. This will create a framework to deliver a development reflective of the character, history and built heritage of Dufftown. Collective Architecture, with Narro Engineers, have been awarded the contract to develop the masterplan, which in now in development. The masterplan phase is 50% funded by the Dorenell Windfarm Community Benefit Fund, administered by Foundation Scotland. The remaining 50% of the masterplan is funded by Moray Council and the Scottish Government, ss part of the Moray Growth Deal’s £7.5m Housing Mix Delivery project.
To ensure that the masterplan is grounded in community needs and priorities, a community event was held on Wednesday 9th August in the British Legion Hall, Dufftown. The event was well attended, throughout the course of the session we had over 50 people taking part and sharing their thoughts. All of the information and opinions gathered at the event are incredibly useful to the Design Team as they begin developing a housing strategy which will be on show at the next Consultation Event in November.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing your insight, thoughts and concerns regarding new homes at Hillside Farm Dufftown. Below is a short summary of the feedback gathered from the community event and in written form after the event.
What facilities are missing in Dufftown or what could be improved?
- There were overriding feelings that the town centre of Dufftown was losing key amenities due to service closures
- Socially there are a range of venues that host weekly local clubs that are well attended by older residents.
- There was a desire for amenities and outdoor facilities that would cater to the younger demographic of Dufftown, both present and future residents of the town.
- There was also suggestions regarding tourism, facilities for campers, EV charger, tourist and local history and information building.
- Improved local transport and questions around local healthcare and developer contribution were raised.
Moving around and Site Entrance Scenarios.
- The majority of people said they currently travel locally around Dufftown by car or foot. Some said they would use the bus more to travel to nearby towns if it ran more frequently or they lived closer to a bus stop.
- Improvements to the Market Green and ‘arrival’ to Dufftown alongside a new junction were seen as favourable. Planning for pedestrian safety was seen to be a priority, along with reducing car speeds into the town and the green.
- There was general support for a new bus stop in proximity to the market green. There were strong concerns from some residents around the placement of a bus stop next to their homes.
- Residents adjoining the new prospective road junction expressed concerns around traffic, noise, and visual appeal, it was understood that these options would be developed more fully to understand their feasibility and impact.
- Enhancing the existing environment and safeguarding the historic trees on the corner of the green was seen as a priority.
- Many people were interested in how local ecology could be conserved and enhanced through the proposals, perhaps even providing new habitats for insects and swifts.
- As an area in proximity to wind energy generation there was interest in the energy potential of the new homes at Hillside farm; district heating, utilising passive solar gain (building orientation) and energy efficiency (low running costs) were mentioned as ideas.
- People supported making the most of walking connections from new housing at Hillside Farm to the surrounding outdoors. Its also important that the housing feels connected back to Dufftown and that there are car free child friendly routes paths to the primary school.
- At the consultation we were made aware of potential drainage issues to the site boundary against existing homes. Note 1: The proposal will improve and deal with existing drainage issues and not exasperate the problem.
- Residents raised concerns around water supply and increasingly drier summers. Note 2: The site will only be developed once there is the appropriate water supply available as seen fit by Scottish Water.
- We were also made aware of sewage blockages and bursts occurring locally and that residents of Dufftown were concerned with new homes placing strain on the existing infrastructure. Note 3: The site will only be developed if the current sewage network has appropriate capacity and or undergoes the appropriate upgrades.
- It was preferable that roads, excessive parking and infrastructure were minimised where possible and opportunities for the landscape to be designed in a way to support water management and ecology.
- Ideas around greenspace character areas were generally well received; designing high quality spaces between building would overall assist in creating a rich living environment that would contribute positively to the character of Dufftown.
- Out of concern for existing residents there were suggestions for planting buffer in key locations.
- Low maintenance planting and indigenous species will be prioritised in green spaces. The question of who maintains communal greenspace areas was raised and will be resolved as the proposal develops. Opportunities for gardening should be supported but not as to stretch the workload of community gardening groups.
Responses to New Homes at Hillside Farm
Thank you to Communities Housing Trust that came to support the event! To see more information about potential housing tenures for the Hillside Farm please visit their website. The community recognised there was a housing need locally for properties that:
- Allowed present residents’ needs to change and be supported without having to move away.
- To provide a variety of options to help for different household incomes; such as low cost rental.
- To help young families find a home locally.
- To encourage people to move to Dufftown keeping the community diverse and welcoming.
- To help key workers and other people essential to the vitality of the community find homes.
More information on the masterplan and the full public consultation feedback newsletter can be found online.