Tomduie Clachan – A pioneering project to help tackle 
the rural housing crisis and climate emergency

In anticipation of the upcoming United Nations COP-26 Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow, a pioneering new project has been announced in Comrie, Perthshire. Tomduie Clachan is a proposed zero-carbon community housing project at Comrie Croft, one of Scotland’s leading ecotourism destinations.

Tomduie Clachan is designed as the flagship in plans for Comrie Croft’s continued development as a centre for regenerative land management, sustainable living and learning. Crucially, it will also allow the Croft to provide business-critical affordable housing for staff, the owner-manager-entrepreneurs of onsite micro-enterprises and other local people.

The architectural design, by John Gilbert Architects, is inspired by the traditional Scottish clachan. Clachans were clusters of cottages focused around the use of common resources such as a well or spring. Sharing and strong neighbourly relationships were a mainstay, something the Tomduie project is designed to emulate. Features of Tomduie include nine modestly sized, super-insulated homes made from local natural materials, a common house and laundry, shared electric cars, renewable energy from small-scale hydro and solar power, and onsite food production.

A new Community Interest Company, Tomduie Collective Housing CIC, has been established to enable prospective householders to develop the clachan and for joint management of the Clachan’s common resources. 

The Scottish Government has recognised an opportunity to develop new ways of living and working post Covid-19, refocusing rural housing policy on community, place, wellbeing, local enterprise, and climate-friendly development. Rural Housing Scotland, the leading national charity for rural housing, has with Scottish Government support, recently launched the Smart Clachan initiative. Tomduie Clachan is one of the pilot projects. 

Derek Logie, Chief Executive of RHS, said: “We are delighted to be working with Comrie Croft to launch this Smart Clachan pilot project. Smart Clachans are an exciting new tool for promoting community-led affordable housing in rural Scotland. We are especially pleased that through the Tomduie Clachan initiative, Comrie Croft will be increasing public awareness on the need for sustainable living as well as economic and environmental regeneration of our rural places.

Andrew Donaldson, Founder of Comrie Croft, said: “The ideas behind Tomduie Clachan have been forming for more than a decade. Progress on the design has gained momentum of late because of the urgent need to respond to the climate emergency, but also because of a growing housing crisis around Comrie and rural Scotland. Comrie Croft extends heartfelt thanks for the technical support and encouragement we’ve received from a number of organisations, including Rural Housing Scotland, John Gilbert Architects, MVGLA Landscape Architects​, Joe Fitzpatrick Planning Consultants and the Communities Housing Trust.”

Perth & Kinross Council are presently considering the planning application for Tomduie Clachan and a decision is expected in early December.