New families welcomed to Methlick Development

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A NEW housing development has formally welcomed a dozen householders who will benefit from affordable homes at the site.

The newly settled householders at Cottonhillock were welcomed with a barbecue, as representatives of parties involved in the construction visited to mark the occasion. In addition to the 22 affordable housing units, the site has been constructed to be self-sufficient in locally produced fuel, with a communal wood-chip burner supplying carbon-neutral heat and hot water to the houses on the estate.

Haddo Estate factor Mark Andrew was on site to see the new burner in operation, and told the Times that the project was good for all parties concerned.

“The wood-chip burner will produce enough hot water to heat 22 of the houses at the development, as well as Methlick Primary School,” he said. “The people who will benefit from the scheme are people on the council’s housing waiting list, who have a local connection with Methlick - either work, or family in the area. The wood-chip burner will be powered by locally produced wood which hasn’t far to travel.

“The technology certainly isn’t cheap, but if oil prices continue to rise, then it will be possible for us to cap the cost of heating for residents. This will look like a good investment.”

Aberdeenshire Council Housing officer Elise Young said that Cottonhillock’s affordable housing and renewable heat generation would help the council meet both its affordable housing and carbon emissions targets.

“This will help us reduce our waiting lists for council tenants, and assist in our objectives of sustaining rural communities by making affordable housing available in places like Methlick,” she said. “At the moment, there’s a waiting list of 200 people in Formartine. If the carbon-neutral heating system helps us meet environmental targets, then that’s good as well.”

Karen Sim, one of the recently arrived in tenants, told the Times that her new home was ‘fantastic’, and that it would allow her to stay locally.

“I’m really pleased with the house - it’s big enough for me and my daughter. It’s a stunning house, with a good sized garden. It’s good for the community, as more youngsters in Methlick mean the school’s future will be secured.”