Developer for new council homes in Edinburgh

Construction work on the first new council homes for a generation in the Capital is set to begin following the appointment of a developer.

Edinburgh-based firm the Cruden Group will now begin building 215 homes on the site of the three former high rises in Gracemount.

At least half of the development will be affordable housing with the first phase seeing 99 homes being built - a mixture of one/two/three bedroom flats and colony style apartments. Sixty seven will be for social rent, 20 mid rent and the rest shared equity. The second phase will consist of 116 homes (70 flats and 46 houses including eight shared equity flats).

The first affordable properties are expected to be available towards the end of next year.

The announcement is the latest major step forward in the Council's exciting 21st Century Homes programme which aims to build 1,300 mixed tenure homes for sale and rent across the Capital over the next eight years.

It will also see the beginning of up to £150 million of Council-led investment in the regeneration of the Gracemount, North Sighthill and Pennywell & Muirhouse areas of the city.

Housing leader, Councillor Paul Edie, welcomed the appointment of the Cruden Group to the development.

He said: "I'm confident they will deliver modern homes fit for the 21st Century that will set the standard for other councils across Scotland to follow. These new council properties will be the first to be built in Edinburgh for a generation and it is an exciting time for residents.

"The 21st Century Homes programme is a vital element of our ongoing long term regeneration plans for the Capital and also demonstrates our commitment to tackling the desperate need for more affordable homes in Edinburgh.

"Recent investment from the Scottish Government is very welcome as shown by the £1.675m which we secured for the Gracemount development. However we still have some way to go to filling the enormous gap in affordable housing which is why we are working closely with them to explore new and innovative ways of building more."

Steven Simpson, Managing Director of Cruden Homes (East) Ltd, said: "The Cruden Group is delighted to have been appointed as the developer for the 21st Century Homes programme in Gracemount.

"Working in tandem with City of Edinburgh Council during this pioneering project, we are looking forward to applying our regeneration experience to alleviate an acute shortage of good quality modern affordable housing in Edinburgh during a time of unprecedented lending constraints and economic uncertainty.

"Throughout the construction of 215 homes over the next four years, this exciting programme will not only provide a secure, sustainable and socially inclusive environment for future generations, but will also generate much needed employment and training opportunities that will be delivered through our successful and established community benefits programme."

Notes to editors:

The Cruden Group was established in 1943 and is one of Scotland's largest independently owned development and construction companies.

The Group employs over 600 employees across three offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Macmerry, East Lothian and has an annual turnover in excess of £150m.

Cruden has built or modernised over 130,000 residential properties in both the public and private sector and has particular expertise in the field of regeneration. Construction activity also extends to the commercial, retail, leisure, health and education sectors.

The City of Edinburgh Council's 21st Century Homes Programme will deliver new mixed tenure communities comprising 50% affordable housing (30% council homes for rent, 10% mid rent, 10% low cost home ownership) with the remainder for private sale.

The North Sighthill and Pennywell & Muirhouse master plans have been subject to extensive community consultation and have both been submitted for Planning Permission in Principle.

The demolition process for 21st Century Homes began in September 2008 with the demolition of Broomview House in North Sighthill. In March 2009 demolition began at Muirhouse Way, and blocks of flats at Muirhouse Avenue, Muirhouse Crescent and Muirhouse Loan have since come down. Tenants at Gracemount have all been rehoused and the three multi-storeys were demolished in October 2009.

The Council has successfully secured £7.5m of funding from the Scottish Government for building new council homes. The first round saw £3.34m allocated which has been put towards the Gracemount and Pennywell & Muirhouse sites. The second resulted in £1.25m which has been put into the Pennywell & Muirhouse sites. Last month First Minister Alex Salmond announced £2.88m of funding for 96 homes in North Sighthill.


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