Anger at housing list jump for gas leak families

Brian Law and partner Sharon Dalgleish need a home. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Brian Law and partner Sharon Dalgleish need a home. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FAMILIES who are to lose their homes after their street was ­condemned have been fast-tracked to the top of a housing waiting list.

Newbyres Crescent in Gorebridge was written off this year after tests found dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. Several people were hospitalised after the gas leaked into the £6 million development’s 64 homes, built just five years ago.

Tenants forced to evacuate have now jumped to the head of Midlothian Council’s housing waiting list, sparking a backlash amongst those already in the queue.

Ellen Stecher, from Dalkeith, said: “I don’t think it’s right. I understand it isn’t these ­people’s fault what’s happened, but they should have to wait at the bottom of the list just like everybody else.”

Council chiefs are also accelerating plans to build 100 new houses on the site of the old Greenhall school, in Gorebridge, and hope to have completed the work by 2016.

Some families are still living in Newbyres Crescent until they find alternative accommodation. But factory worker Brian Law, whose family left their home, said the situation for evacuees was dire.

“I totally understand why people who have been on the waiting list for years would be upset,” he said. I would be, too, because we were on that list for years. But then we were told that the house we had waited for, and then spent two years turning into a home, was going to be demolished because it was unsafe in the first place.

“That development should have never been built, and I think heads have got to roll because of it.

“We need some place to go – and I think if some of those people complaining were in our shoes, they would understand.”

Newbyres Crescent resident William Power, 30, said he was worried his family wouldn’t be safe until they were rehomed.

He said: “We’ve already been guaranteed a house at the new Greenhall development, but the council says it may be weeks before they find a ­temporary solution.

“In the meantime, I’ve got a pregnant wife and three children living in a property that may or may not be safe, and we’re just being advised to keep all of our windows open so that we don’t get headaches.

“That’s fine now, but come winter we’ll have to choose between getting ill and ­freezing. It’s an absolute ­nightmare.”

A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: “Newbyres Crescent tenants have ­priority on the waiting list above all other waiting list applicants at present until they are ­re-housed.”