SWMID is planning to develop woodland crofts at Tiroran Community Forest. We have identified six potential croft locations and have submitted a pre-planning application for croft houses on these sites. We want to be able to offer reassurance to woodland crofters that it will be possible to make a permanent home on their croft.
If we are successful at pre-planning stage, we will then take our proposed sites to the Crofting Commission for registration. Once this procedure is completed we will be inviting expressions of interest from aspiring crofters. We have already had a large number of people coming forward who would like the opportunity to have a woodland croft, including many young families. All hopeful crofters will have to fill in an application form and each application will be measured against certain criteria, such as the benefit they might bring to the community, their current living situation and the plans they have for a woodland croft.
Each croft needs to have a minimum of 80% tree cover. A wide variety of tree species can be planted to fit with the needs and aspirations of the crofter, helping to increase the biodiversity of the forest.
Woodland crofters have the opportunity to access land that offers a potential livelihood, a place to live and security of tenure. The crofts, therefore, will contribute towards meeting the economic and social aspirations of the community, including the retention of working age individuals and families. Woodland crofters will bring land management skills that can help to build our capacity to manage the forest.
Houses on woodland crofts are subject to the same planning regulations as any other house. SWMID will work with crofters to encourage the use of timber from the forest for the construction and heating of croft houses. This makes sense in terms of cost, limits environmental impact and ensures that houses blend in to the surrounding woodland.
For more information about woodland crofts, visit the Woodland Croft Partnership website.