Green light given to force Pennywell Road home owners to sell for development

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Edinburgh City Council will push ahead with plans to force homeowners to sell up their properties in order to complete the redevelopment of a community shopping centre.

The council’s planning committee agreed to move forward with using Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) laws to require three owners of flats in Pennywell Road to sell their properties to the authority.

Pennywell shopping area where businesses and residents have been issued with compulsory purchase orders for further development

Pennywell shopping area where businesses and residents have been issued with compulsory purchase orders for further development

The draft CPO policy will need final approval of the full council next month. The council hopes “amicable agreements can be reached in all three cases”, but has set the wheels in motion on the CPO policy to ensure no delays are encountered to the development of the Muirhouse shopping centre.

It is deja vu for Hosnaeara Bedum, 39, who was forced to leave her last home on Pennywell Place in May 2009 due to the development of Craigroyston Community High School.

She now lives on Pennywell Road with her husband Salahuddin, who has lived in the flat for 25 years, and their two sons and insists she cannot believe what is happening.

She said: “We should not be in this position but we have no choice. I’ve been offered homes in Gorgie and Pennywell Grove but I want a brand new home so I don’t have to go through this again.

“We are very upset because our home is beautiful and for someone to say we have to leave is hard to take.”

Eight tenants at the Muirhouse shopping centre could also face eviction under the controversial law, including Whitecross Dental Care, Lloyds Pharmacy and Greggs. Other businesses which could be ousted for the redevelopment include New Suen Moon takeaway, Gerry’s Cafe, Ali’s Pizza and Ladbrokes.

The planning committee unanimously approved proposals to commence proceedings for the draft CPO policy.

Planning convener Cllr Neil Gardiner said: “This proposal is most welcome. It underlines the Capital coalition’s commitment to social and affordable housing and to communities throughout the city. This is one more step in our plan to deliver great new communities, so a most welcome further step in that direction of travel.”

In order to complete the council’s regeneration of the Muirhouse and Pennywell “civic heart”, the council needed to purchase five privately owned properties.

Two deals have been completed and the council has been in discussions with the remaining three property owners since 2016.

One of those owners, who wished to remain anonymous, said she finally accepted the council’s third offer just last week. She said: “My kids have grown up here and it is our family home so we don’t want to go. We have spent a fortune refurnishing and redecorating our flat for it now to be ripped down.”

The council has also been in dialogue with leaseholders occupying the retail units in the centre with a “view to managing the redevelopment sensitively” to ensure that “retail provision is retained throughout the project”.

The first phase of the development is set to be ready for residents to move in during the early part of 2019, when phase two will start ahead of phase three commencing in 2020.

A phased demolition and construction programme is taking place, which allows for the “re-housing, buy backs and a commercial relocation strategy to retain retail while the regeneration is ongoing”.

The completed scheme will include 13 retail units and 148 flats.

If approved, the CPO will be advertised with an opportunity for any objections to be made. If objections cannot be resolved, the Scottish Government will appoint a reporter and arrange for a hearing or inquiry to take place.

Subject to Scottish Government approval, the CPO would then be either confirmed, modified or rejected.