Edinburgh mum of four given keys to new affordable home after temporary accommodation stay

A mother of four has spoken out after being given the keys to a new affordable home after being “stuck” in temporary accommodation.

Monday, 12th August 2019, 11:30 am
Cllr Kate Campbell and Cllr Mandy Watt with Laura Christison and her boys at their new affordable home, Picture: Edinburgh Council / Greg Macvean

A family of five moved into their new council house this week in Sighthill – part of the authority’s bid to build 20,000 affordable homes. Laura Christison and her four boys were welcomed to their new home by SNP-Labour administration housing chiefs, Cllr Kate Campbell and Cllr Mandy Watt.

Currently, there are 2,296 affordable homes under construction on 38 sites across the Capital. At the North Sighthill development on Calder Road, 316 homes are being built – 96 council homes, 88 for mid-market rent and 132 for private sale.

The £35m development is being support by £2.88m from the Scottish Government and includes a mix of terraced houses, town houses and flats – built to high energy efficiency standards to help provide lower utility bills for residents.

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Ms Christison said her new home was “so lovely”.

She added: “The house will make a massive improvement to our lives. I can’t believe how big it is inside. It’s such a great improvement of what I had before. We were stuck in temporary accommodation, in a flat.

“There’s so much space here for the boys and they have been able to stay at the same school. I’ve now got two bathrooms which I’ve always needed for the boys and we’ve even got our own private garden.

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“It has taken a while to get to this stage and I’m just so pleased. You have to bid for houses now and you just have to wait until something comes up.”

There have been 12 affordable homes handed over to new tenants at the Sighthill development – four social and eight for mid-market rent. Residents will move into their new homes on a phased basis over the next six months while some of the private homes were sold earlier this year.

Housing, homelessness and fair work convener, Cllr Kate Campbell, said: “It was amazing to meet Laura and her family and very kind of them to show us round their new home.

“We have one of the most ambitious house building programmes in the UK, but that does mean we tend to focus on the numbers. It was so good for Mandy and I to hear first-hand what those homes really mean for families like Laura’s and what a difference it will make to their lives.

“North Sighthill is a major regeneration project with a mix of council, mid market and private homes for sale. Almost 100 council homes are being built and I’d like to wish Laura and her family, all of our other tenants and everyone else who moves into the development every happiness in their new homes.”

The Sighthill development is classed as ‘tenure blind’ meaning there should be no distinction between the affordable homes and those available to buy.

Brian Pettigrew, regional managing director of the developer Engie, said: “Engie is thrilled and delighted to be handing over the first affordable houses for rent at North Sighthill. Almost ten years on from the very first community consultation events, this highly important exemplar project is testament to the hard work, patience, commitment and dedication of the council and all of the community stakeholders who worked tirelessly to realise the vision of a new North Sighthill.

“We very much hope that each and every new tenant enjoys their new place and their new home for many years to come. We are proud to be the construction partner of choice for this fantastic regeneration project and we look forward to handing over many more completed homes in coming months.”