Housing

A survey in 1993 revealed forty persons in Durness had varying housing needs and the advantage of having a day centre was highlighted. A summary reported that one house in five is a holiday or second home. Seven caravans and three wooden chalets provide accommodation for ten households with a permanent housing stock of one hundred and ninety two including caravans. The survey highlighted the immediate need for eight to ten houses to rent. Between 1985-1992, eighteen houses were built on croft land and only two council houses built in the previous sixteen years.

In late 1996, early 1997 eight houses were constructed in Hames Place by Albion housing association. When suitable accommodation became available, a move around from people in council housing, private rented houses and people returning to the area was a consequence. It was late 1997 that the last inhabited croft house was fitted with an indoor toilet and bathroom.

Around the late 1960's some buildings, which constituted RAF Sango at Churchend, were demolished and two council houses were built. The others have been improved and converted into comfortable private homes. The buildings constituting Balnakeil Craft Village have been converted to provide comfortable private homes.

From around the Millennium several new houses have been constructed. This is due mainly to land becoming available for house plots through the Durness Estates and local crofting grazing committee relinquishing land from Common Grazing

Notes from the Durness Estate report 2004 

6.2.1    Housing:

The area’s housing population of approximately 350 has remained constant since 1971.  The majority live in the centre of Durness and a series of neighbouring townships.

Of the 154 households 98 are owner occupied, 27 are Local Authority or Housing Association rented accommodation and 14 privately rented. 

Approximately 22 houses are presently unoccupied.

Between 1991 and 2001 the number of households increased by 10 including 8No. Housing Association dwellings in Hames Place.

In the 1980s, 2 amenity houses were completed by the then District Council adjacent to the Church at Sangomore.  This site proved remote from the shop in Durness to the elderly tenants.

Approximately 33 dwellings are second/holiday homes.

 

6.2.2    Social care facilities:

None exist in Durness.  Those in need of day-care facilities, have to travel to Kinlochbervie approximately 20 miles away.

 

6.4.10  There is a desperate need for day-care facilities in the Parish.  Several projects have been embarked upon in an effort to provide them over the last ten years but all have failed mainly due to the lack of funding.

6.4.11  It can be seen from the 2001 census that 16.4% of the population in the Durness area are over 65 years of age.  This age profile is expected to continue in the future as it is an attractive place to retire to – both for people with no connection to it and locals who have been forced to find work elsewhere but wish to return in later years.

6.4.12    Primary care is provided by a GP resident in Durness but there is no provision for respite care.  Visits are organised to the Kinlochbervie Day Centre – a 40 miles, 2 hour round trip – very often in atrocious weather conditions. It is claimed that there is a very definite demand for respite beds to be provided locally to allow carers the essential breaks they deserve.  Not all requiring these beds are elderly.

6.4.13  There has been a significant number of residents over the last 10 years requiring long-term care and they have had to go off to various establishments such as at Migdale resulting in at least a 4 hour round trip for family and friends at visiting times.

There is a mixture of types of houses in Durness. There are traditional stone built houses; council housing and modern kit built bungalows. Most croft houses have been modernised and enlarged.

The first council houses were erected at Bard Terrace in the central section about mid-1950s. The houses opposite the mace supermarket were next, School Road and Hames Place followed and in 1975, the twelve houses at Druim Bhlair were built. They were the first houses in the area to be all electric.