WORK on the second part of a massive development set to transform a rundown area of the Capital is expected to get under way by the end of the year.
The council-funded Pennywell Living complex at Muirhouse – one of the largest schemes of its kind in Scotland – will consist of 700 new homes when completed and cost around £50 million.
Planning approval has now been granted for developer Urban Union to build a further 177 homes this year – ranging from three-storey terraced and semi-detached townhouses to modern apartment blocks.
The first homes from the new batch would be put for sale in early 2016 – with developers insisting interest in the properties is expected to be “high”.
Graeme Nicol, managing director of Urban Union, said the move marked “another milestone”.
He said: “We will now begin to build a further 177 homes, which have been carefully designed with young couples, families and downsizers in mind. With the highest quality fittings and finishes, we expect interest in these homes to be high.”
The Pennywell Living complex is the result of a major council investment of £42m, with the Scottish Government contributing a further grant of £7.9m.
The finished development will see 356 new social and mid-market homes available for rent from the council, alongside 363 new properties for private sale.
The scheme is part of a wider regeneration programme aimed at creating new public open spaces as well as apprenticeships and a range of activities and events for local people.
But the proposals have previously come under fire after hundreds of homes were demolished to make way for the replacement high school – with the development even blamed for the closure of the Gunner pub on Pennywell Road in June.
Councillor Cammy Day, the city’s housing leader, said the completed new homes “look absolutely fantastic”.
He said: “Bringing good quality houses at prices that families can afford will encourage people to move into the north of the city, create jobs and, in turn, stimulate the economy.
“The council is investing heavily in order to meet the high demand for homes in Edinburgh and to create sustainable neighbourhoods, such as Pennywell, by working with local communities and partners such as Urban Union.”
And Roy Douglas, chairman of Muirhouse/Salvesen Community Council, said recent community reaction to the proposals had all been “positive”.
He insisted the development gave many who had left Muirhouse the chance to come back and set up home in the area.