Comment: Many cannot afford to get on property ladder

Many cannot afford to get on the property ladder. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Many cannot afford to get on the property ladder. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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For years Muirhouse has been an area in sad decline. Hundreds of homes were demolished and pubs closed. The area became rundown and cloaked in blight. But this week sees the turning of a leaf and a new start that promises to bring life and vibrancy back into the area – and much-needed affordable homes.

The development will comprise more than 700 new homes when complete. It is one of the largest schemes of its kind in Scotland with a mixture of private and low-cost housing to help struggling young families secure accommodation in a city where property has become ever more expensive.

Now the council-funded Pennywell Living complex has opened its doors to its first residents. Local man Adam McIntyre has moved into his three-bedroom home with his wife and daughters Jodie and Abby. He bought the home from Urban Union, the firm leading the regeneration project, through the Help to Buy Scheme.

He speaks proudly of a “buzz” around the first swathe of the million development on the site of the former Craigroyston Community High.

A total of 363 new homes for private sale and 356 social and mid-market rent homes will be created at the site over a ten-year period. The city council has ploughed £42m into the regeneration project while the Scottish Government contributed a further £7.9m grant. The complex features one, two, three and four-bedroom flats and homes with prices starting from £110,000.

Many people can’t afford to get on the property ladder in the Capital. Developments like this which make affordable homes available to rent and buy are crucial. They help to stop the tide of families being priced out of living in Edinburgh. And it is vital to the city economy that the vast array of nurses, catering staff, care workers, bus drivers and all those providing key services that enable the city to function are able to live here.

Mixed public and private investment such as this is important to making sure we can tackle the city’s housing crisis. And they are an important part of the continuing regeneration efforts, providing homes and local jobs.

The development has taken longer than many had hoped. But now it is under way it offers renewal and hope for this area.