Tomduie Clachan – Comrie Croft

Tomduie Clachan, an RHS Smart Clachan pilot, is a zero-carbon 100% affordable co-housing scheme that will be the innovation flagship in ongoing efforts to establish Comrie Croft as Scotland’s foremost demonstration and visitor learning centre for rural regeneration and future living. Modelled on a traditional Scottish clachan reimagined for the 21st Century, Tomduie will demonstrate ways of rural living that positively impact the planet and community. The Clachan will also provide vital housing for Croft staff, enterprise owner/managers and others in housing need locally.

Tomduie will be at the heart of Comrie Croft’s planned regenerative learning activities, including visitor tours, events, educational activities and exhibits, and vocational training. These activities are expected to make a significant contribution to changing mindsets, by demonstrating new and better ways of living that are vital to the future of the planet and our local communities, while at the same time growing the Croft’s visitor numbers and associated revenues.

Tomduie Clachan infographic, showing the use of traditional Scottish clachan design

Some of the key regenerative living aspects that Tomduie Clachan will demonstrate are:

  • Highest resource efficiency design and build standards, including innovative construction techniques and the use of minimally processed and locally-sourced natural building materials.
  • Net carbon neutrality (and added sequestration) from the outset both in the build and in usage.
  • Harmony with the surrounding landscape, incorporating traditional Scottish clachan principles.
  • Permaculture principles for managing land and producing food in and around the clachan.
  • Co-housing approaches to living involving the sharing of essential services and infrastructure (e.g., electric vehicles and laundry) and cooperation in fulfilling various communal roles and functions.
  • Integrated onsite enterprises, jobs and services, e.g., the Croft’s farm shop and buildings maintenance services.
  • Off-grid renewable energy (solar and hydroelectric) and high-efficiency battery storage.
  • Affordable housing in perpetuity and a housing allocation policy based on supporting and working within the community.
  • A zero-waste permaculture-based wastewater treatment system.
  • Minimising household waste and consumption using reduce, reuse and recycle best practices.

Subject to receiving planning permission, the Clachan will be established in the north-central part of Comrie Croft’s Sustainable Living Zone according to the Comrie Croft Masterplan, with a development footprint of 0.25ha. The rest of the zone will be dedicated to permaculture-based land management.

Comrie Croft landscape, showing the site of the proposed Tomduie Clachan

Key co-housing features

As with Scottish clachans in the past, Tomduie Clachan will foster a communal approach to living involving sharing of essential services and infrastructure, and cooperation in fulfilling various communal roles and functions. In developing this community-driven approach, the main aim will be to foster and encourage cooperation, sharing and working together, as much as possible on an organic and informal basis.

The Clachan will comprise nine homes with a mix of owner-occupied and rental tenures, plus three common spaces. An important aim will be to establish perpetual affordability of Clachan homes, which will be achieved by attaching Rural Housing Burdens to all Clachan homeowner title deeds. Affordability of rental homes will also be built into the scheme, with rents pegged to Perth and Kinross Council’s mid-level affordable rates.  A housing allocation scheme has already been developed for both owner-occupied and rental homes, with the overall aim of building a thriving self-reliant, socially inclusive and intergenerational Clachan community.

Tomduie’s streetscape shows how the traditional clachan design
provides an outstanding platform for successful rural placemaking

Shared communal management will be achieved by establishing a householder representative Community Interest Company – Tomduie Collective Housing CIC – which will have lead responsibility for the overall development of the Clachan housing as well as common infrastructure and services. TCH CIC will enable Clachan residents to adopt a “collective self-build” approach to establishing the individual homes and common spaces, which will deliver economies of scale in building flexible and affordable housing.

Current status (November 2022)

A vital hurdle in establishing Tomduie Clachan is securing planning permission from Perth & Kinross Council. A revised planning application was submitted at the beginning of October 2022 (the previous application having been withdrawn in order to respond to initial feedback received from the Council), and a response is expected within the next few months. In the meantime, Comrie Croft is undertaking extensive consultations and awareness raising with its local community as well as with Perth & Kinross Councillors and staff.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Tomduie Clachan, you can contact Andrew Donaldson at Comrie Croft: