Minister launches next stage of £38m housing project

Margaret Burgess at the site of the new homes in Chesser. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Margaret Burgess at the site of the new homes in Chesser. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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THE latest phase of a house-building initiative set to produce almost 1000 new homes across the Capital has been launched in Chesser.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess unveiled the plans as she visited the site of the former fruitmarket in Chesser Avenue where 80 new homes are to be built as part of a 
£38 million project which also includes the new Edinburgh West Retail Park.

The new houses are being built under the National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative, which brings together the city council, developers and the Scottish Futures Trust. The council borrows money to finance the construction and the investment is underwritten by the Scottish Government.

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The homes will available for rent for up to ten years before being sold, with existing tenants given first option to buy. If the tenant declines, the council or a social landlord could take it over and continue renting it.

The council has approved loans of more than £110m for almost 1000 NHT homes at nine brownfield sites in the city, with four developments completed and another currently under construction.

Visiting the previously derelict market site at Chesser, Ms Burgess said: “This strategically important site in Edinburgh leads the way as the first development approved under the latest round of the NHT.

“NHT is a pioneering example of creative working amongst the public, private and non-profit sectors.

“When complete, these 80 homes for mid-market rent will be a welcome addition to the supply of affordable housing in Edinburgh. Over 400 NHT homes have already been built, with almost 600 more planned in the city.”

She said that across Scotland the NHT initiative was on track to deliver more than 2000 new homes without the need for grant subsidy.

City housing leader Cammy Day said: “Edinburgh has a shortage of affordable housing and the National Housing Trust can enable new mid-market rent homes to be built, which will meet the needs of working households who can’t afford to buy homes or to pay full market rents. A major part of the council’s Capital Coalition commitment is to ensure that the city’s residents are well housed and we will continue to invest in affordable homes.”

The council has already ­provided loans of more than £58m for previous phases of NHT construction, enabling 422 affordable homes to be built at sites in Telford Road, Lochend, Granton Waterfront and Salamander Place, with another 96 new homes under construction at Western Harbour.

Cllr Day said: “This innovative way of providing quality affordable housing supports local jobs and the local economy.”