Posts Tagged ‘business unit’

Need business space?

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It was recently announced that Highlands & Islands Enterprise is supporting a Market Assessment and Feasibility Study for The North Harris Trust (NHT), into the provision of new business premises in North Harris. Following its completion of the Iomairt an Obain business development, NHT now wishes to build on this success, encouraging other businesses to create more local employment opportunities.

Iomairt an Obain

The contract was awarded to SKS Scotland, who are carrying out an initial survey to determine demand for any newly-constructed premises.

Calum MacKay, Chair of The North Harris Trust said; “This is an excellent opportunity for any businesses on Harris or nearby to give their opinion about what is needed and what they want to see in Harris.  The survey is also relevant for people who would be interested in starting up their own business but currently feel limited by lack of appropriate space or other factors.”

Calum continued; “We would encourage anyone who feels this might be relevant to them to complete the survey, which is available on line at, and make sure their opinion is heard!”

Alternatively, hard copies are available from the NHT office: Tigh an Urrais, Tarbert, Isle of Harris, and via the NHT website

The survey will be open until the 19th July at 5pm.

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Twelve months ago, we were well into the build of the three business units at Oban, on the outskirts of Tarbert.







The frames were up and watertight, and a group of pupils from Sir E Scott School were inspecting the work going on, on the inside. They were keen to see what each of the trades do, and what tools they use nowadays.

As we entered 2015, we spent time advertising the properties in various trade magazines. We aimed the properties at the craft/food & drink sectors. We had enquiries, but it was always going to be a long shot, finding an existing business willing to relocate to a remote island. Many people fancied the idea of living in Harris, but their business ideas would have struggled to create the new jobs that the project has to deliver. As the year has progressed, we have broadened the selection criteria.





By March 2015, the first of the units was ready for occupancy. March 1st saw The Harris Tweed Company, Grosebay move into Unit 1. Unit 2 saw Fiskmann Ltd move in briefly. Unit 3 was let in September to Buth Bheag Candle Co. In November we secured a new tenant for Unit 2, the well known local business Hotel Hebrides. It plans to start manufacturing a new product shortly.

So, at the end of 2015, we have three rent-paying tenants and three sets of solar panels generating a small income for the Trust. Each of the tenancies will be reviewed at their first anniversary to see if they have delivered the jobs and training that they promised.


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Iomairt an Obain ready for business

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It’s March 2nd and we now have three completed Business Units. The Iomairt an Obain development in East Tarbert was finally handed over to us on this fine spring day! There are a couple of outstanding tasks, like painting the white lines on the road and fitting the street lights, but these will have to wait for the better weather.

Today also marks the handing over of the first set of keys to new tenants. The Harris Tweed Company, Grosebay have taken a lease on Unit 1. They will be growing their mail-order operation and starting to manufacture tweed items on site.

We are in discussions with a mainland food-based business for the lease of Unit 2. The hope is to have the new business on site and manufacturing in the next 6 weeks.

The final unit is now being marketed to Food & Drink and Craft businesses on the mainland. One of the terms of the funding was that we try to attract a new family to the community. The best use of the building will be a  new family business, bringing new kids to the schools, new disposable income to the economy and creating new jobs for the community. This is what we are trying to do with press articles like these HERE and HERE.

We are planning an open day at the site on SATURDAY MARCH 28th for the community to have a look round and see what we have been building these last 6 months.

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New and growing businesses wanted

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Since July, work has been underway on the East Tarbert/Urgha border to construct the first new business units in Harris for over a decade. Last year, The North Harris Trust secured funding from the Big Lottery, HIE and CnES to build facilities that will attract new jobs and training opportunities to the area. The high cost of construction here in Harris and the perceived lack of demand has meant that no commercial developer has ever considered this sort of development. As a community development trust, The North Harris Trust has managed to convince the funders that if the units are built, then the businesses will come, along with employment opportunities.

Over the last few months Lewis Builders and Duncan MacKay & Sons Ltd have been preparing the ground for the three timber-frame buildings. Everyone on site now understands how hard the Harris rock is. We have worn out 5 tips to the rock breaker and burst countless hydraulic hoses. At last though, we have something above ground to show for 3 months work. The larch-clad units have been designed to be energy efficient with their own solar panels for electricity generation. Each has a workshop area, office and toilet. The units are due for completion at the end of January 2015. Planning permission has been granted for Business and Light Industrial use.

Over the years since the project was first conceived, the Trust has gathered the names of interested parties. An Expression of Interest form is now available for these people and others to confirm their interest. The form will allow funders to determine which potential tenants are best placed to create a positive impact to the economy of North Harris.

The form can be downloaded HERE  along with plans of the buildings. Hard copy versions can be sent by contacting David Wake on 01859 502222.

See the official Press Release HERE

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..while the sun shines

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The Iomairt an Obain development in East Tarbert took another step forward last week. On Wednesday morning the timber-frame kits arrived on site. Three truckloads arrived in the pouring rain.


As the scaffold was erected, the rain blew away. This week the panels are going up in sunshine. Nearly all the walls are up for all three units. The glulam beams are lined up ready for the roof. The windows are due at the end of the week. Now we have finally sent the pecker away, and the groundwork is finished we can see some rapid progress.


An Expression of Interest form will be posted out next week to all those that have shown interest in the units. If you wish to request a copy, then please contact the Trust Office on 01859 502222

HIECnES Planning




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Work starts on site

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Work got underway this week to prepare the site in East Tarbert for three new business units. Lewis Builders, who have been awarded the contract have moved their welfare facilities onto site. They are working with the North Harris Agricultural Show committee to ensure there will be no problems on the day of the show (July 17th).

The three business units are scheduled to be complete in January, but the first task is excavating three flat pads to build upon.

Iomairt an Obain is the name of the development, and signage will be erected shortly with this and the logos of the funders.

We are still collecting the names of people who have shown interest in renting one of the units. A formal application process will be announced in the Autumn.


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Business Unit update

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This week saw the first Design Team meeting in Harris. The Business unit project is being managed by Nick Thomson of Rural Design Architects. We have a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor and a CDM Co-ordinator in the team that will take this project through to completion at the end of 2014.

We are currently waiting on the Building Warrant to be signed off, but hope to be opening the tendering process on the Public Contracts Scotland web portal at the start of March. The plan now shows a six month building program starting in May.

Towards the end of the year, we will start actively marketing this new business space. We have already had a number of enquiries, but many are from people who just want storage space. The project is being funded on the basis that they will create new jobs, so helping to retain the younger members of the community. Job creation is key to securing a tenancy of a unit.

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We’re 100% there!

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Last week we received the final piece of the funding jigsaw. An award in the first round of Community Capital Grants Fund from CnES makes up our shortfall. CnES will be contributing £35,000 to get us on our way again.

This week, the architect will submit our Building Warrant application after a period of detailed design work. Meanwhile our solicitor is working on the security agreements that Big Lottery needs in place. We’re still hoping to break ground in the spring.


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Community ownership brings half a million pounds to North Harris

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The BIG Lottery has issued the following press release today:


The Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Investing in Communities programme today announces its latest package of funding worth over £1.1 million to two projects in the Highlands and North Harris.


Inverness-based New Start Highland has been awarded a £673,748 grant to support its Project Shine.

The North Harris Trust has been awarded £502,212 to construct new zero carbon business units in the Tarbert area, creating 13 full time jobs together with three full time training places. By encouraging growth in enterprise the Trust aims to provide employment and training opportunities to young people who currently leave the area to find work while encouraging new families and employers to move into the community.

Calum MacKay, Chair of the North Harris Trust, said:

“Our 2012 Community Survey confirmed that the lack of jobs is the biggest issue facing our small community. This project will create first rate facilities that will attract new and growing businesses from near and far. Each will be expected to deliver on their promise to create new jobs and training opportunities. Support from the Big Lottery Fund confirms our belief that community-driven developments like this are the way to make a difference.”


Announcing the awards, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “Through our Investing in Communities programme the Big Lottery Fund is able to help a broad range of people in need. These can be activities to address long term unemployment due to substance misuse, offending or simply a lack of opportunity. The groups funded today are ideally placed to assist those with greatest need and make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

This award makes up 70% of the required funding package. An announcement from HIE on a further 20% of the package is due shortly. The project is being taken forward by the Trust on behalf of the community because of market failure. Neither commercial developers nor local authority have built business space in over 10 years. Without business space we cannot attract new and growing businesses and new jobs. Community ownership opens up access to funding for such projects.

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Zero Carbon Business Units – where’s the money coming from?

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Today marks the end of what seems like months of work.

We have been working on an application to BIG Lottery for funding to build the three starter units in Tarbert. The application form is the document in the bottom right corner of the picture. The rest of the paperwork is the back up information needed to build the whole story. There are plans, elevations, topological surveys, insurance certificates, spreadsheets of costs and cashflows, schedules, research reports, pictures, company accounts, planning certificates…to name a few.

HMRC have bumped the costs up with 20% of VAT, so we’re now looking at a project cost of over £700,000. The Lottery application is for about 70% of this. The remainder we hope to make up from CnES, HIE and our own funds. So wish us Good Luck, and keep your fingers crossed for the next four months.

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