Leith residents saved from eviction after Lorne Street U-turn

Lorne Street residents Sharon Anderson with Kera and Devin, 11 and 7. Picture: Toby Williams
Lorne Street residents Sharon Anderson with Kera and Devin, 11 and 7. Picture: Toby Williams
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HUNDREDS of Leith residents facing eviction have been saved after a U-turn by the charitable trust that owns their homes.

Almost 60 flats on Lorne Street were set to be sold off by the Miss Agnes Hunter Trust, which gives financial aid to health and social welfare charities.

But trustees of the organisation have now announced their decision not to proceed with a planned rolling programme of individual sales over the next three to four years.

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Lorne Street tenants were told they faced eviction in June last year after a letter was sent by the Miss Agnes Hunter Trust informing them that “retention of the trust’s property portfolio was no longer in the interests of the trust”.

The charity, which gives out £350,000 in charitable grants each year, said it could no longer afford to keep the flats as the cost of managing and maintaining them had ballooned.

The latest decision was taken at a meeting of the Trustees on May 19 and affects 59 properties on short-term tenancies.

Bosses confirmed they had now written to residents to assure them they will not be issuing any further “no fault” notices to quit.

But they said they were still looking to sell the flats at a future date.

A statement from the Miss Agnes Hunter Trust reads: “The Trustees have made this decision after careful consideration to decline an offer made by The Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA) to take over the property portfolio as it proved impossible to conclude a deal which would have worked for both parties.

“The Trustees remain open to considering other options such as an approach by another housing association, registered social landlord or by a tenants’ co-operative.”

Walter Thomson, chairman of the trustees of the Miss Agnes Hunter Trust, said: “Our original decision to sell the properties was taken to safeguard the ability of the trust to maintain its ability to make grants to charities in line with the purposes outlined by Miss Agnes Hunter when she set up the trust in 1954.

“Unfortunately a bid from The Port of Leith Housing Association provided impossible to conclude a deal which would have worked for both parties.

“However, while we continue to seek to sell the property portfolio, the Trustees have decided not to issue any further notices to quit to individual sitting short-assured tenants.”