Sawmill Green, Moniaive & Whirlow, Palnackie – Dumfries & Galloway

2 refurbished units


Moniaive Initiative and Palnackie Village Shop Ltd.

Completion Date

August/September 2020


  • Meeting local housing need
  • Reinvigoration of empty housing stock
  • Stemming population decline


Two projects demonstrating the multiple benefits of investment in long-term empty properties in small, fragile communities. In both cases, the community groups had worked with South of Scotland Community Housing (SOSCH), formerly Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust, to carry out community consultation. This demonstrated that local affordable housing was a real issue. The evidence from the consultation was used to support project development and decide how housing should be allocated.

Moniaive Initiative purchased a long-neglected house in the village that had stood empty for 12 years. Housing for older people, particularly those with mobility needs, was a high priority from the consultation. Refurbishment plans concentrated therefore on creating a new fully accessible layout, with a second bedroom, open plan kitchen and wetroom.

Palnackie Village Shop Ltd (PVSL) freehold of the village shop, which they had been running since 2013, along with the adjacent café and three bedroom house in September 2019. Development of the house was separated from the shop and café and funding was secured to refurbish it to modern standards, including installing energy efficiency measures complete with a new heating system and air source heat pump. The house has been let to a family who work locally, and can now more easily provide care and support to their elderly parents and community members in the village.


Moniaive Initiative secured funding from the Rural Housing Fund to purchase their property, and additional grants from SSE Strategic Development Fund to carry out the refurbishment work. Conversely Panackie Village Shop Ltd used their Rural Housing Fund grant to fund their refurbishment work, having secured a Scottish Land Fund award to cover the purchase costs. In both cases, no loan funding was required, which enables all surplus rental income to be used to help fund other aspects of each Trust’s work, including staffing costs and developing future projects.


SOSCH supported both groups through the purchase process, including community consultation, submitting grant applications, management of procurement and contractors, allocations and housing management.


Moniaive Initiative have addressed both a housing need in the village and tackled the issue of long-term empty properties. The house was let to an elderly tenant suffering from dementia. As her family live across the road, they are able to offer her daily support and care, whilst still enabling her to maintain her independence.

In Palnackie, community ownership has enabled the only remaining shop in the village to remain open, and provided a much needed family home for local residents. While taking on such an ambitious project is daunting for a community group, splitting it up into different phases, and support from SOSCH has made the project achievable and ensured its success.

SOSCH - Moniaive Initiative Sawmill Green

“The Rural Housing Fund would be essential for us to take on any further housing projects, as there are not many funding streams for housing”

John Murray
Treasurer, Moniaive Institute

Future Plans

In both cases, the housing needs and demand assessments identified further demand for affordable housing within the villages. Both groups are keen to explore further options following the successful completion of their projects, should capital acquisition and development funding be available.