THE last of Sighthill's eyesore tower blocks are finally to be flattened in a specialist operation costing almost £800,000, it was revealed today.
Glenalmond, Hermiston and Weir Courts in North Sighthill will be blown down at the end of this summer as part of a project to eradicate 1700 of the city's worst homes.
The three landmark blocks set to be flattened have been heavily associated with anti-social behaviour and among them are some of the hardest to let of the 23,000 council houses in Edinburgh.
The demolition, by Dundee firm Safedem, which will also include several low-rise blocks, will cost around 780,000 and will make way for the next stage of the 21st Century Homes project.
It aims to build up to 1300 homes for sale and rent across the Capital over the next eight years, and is linked to a 150 million scheme to regenerate Gracemount, North Sighthill and Pennywell and Muirhouse.
The North Sighthill site will see 320 homes built, while the Pennywell and Muirhouse project will result in the creation of 700 homes. The council hopes that building work can begin on the homes around summer 2012.
A masterplan for the overall project was approved by the council last year, and although exact planning details have not been finalised, new homes in Gracemount include modern Stockbridge-style colony houses for young families.
Councillor Paul Edie, the city's housing convener, told the Evening News: "This demolition is earmarked for late summer and is part of a three-generation 21st century housing project, in which will be built some of the first council houses in a generation in Sighthill.
"We've been moving people out for some time now and finding alternative accommodation," he added.
"Now they're out, we want to get these down as soon as we can.
"The new estates will be a mixture of council housing and private sector housing, which we have found is best for social cohesion.
"The demolition itself will be a bittersweet occasion for people who have lived here, had Christmas here, and were brought up here. But we're going to be building something much better.
"The new estates will be built to the modern standards, particularly with regards to energy conservation. The end result will be a mixture of different kinds of accommodation.
"This is a strong message to the community that we're not letting this area stand empty and that we will deliver good quality homes for residents in Edinburgh."
Eric Milligan, councillor for Sighthill, said that Edinburgh Napier University's new campus had already played a part in regenerating the area and that the new housing developments would further improve Sighthill.
He said: "This is a consequence of the decision taken by Napier University to establish their new campus at Sighthill. This was the catalyst for this revitalisation of North Sighthill.
"The multi-storey blocks have served Edinburgh and Sighthill well, but they are very much a product of their time. Multi-storey blocks have had a chequered history in Scotland and I don't think there will be many people sad to see these go."