Comment: Muirhouse homes important to Edinburgh

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As plans to build more than 700 new homes in Muirhouse are revealed, Cammy Day outlines the importance of the project to the Capital

The plans to build 715 affordable and private homes in Pennywell, in the Muirhouse area, are a big deal in many ways.

The homes, to be built within nine years of the contract award, includes 356 council homes to be built within six years. This is in addition to the 34 homes currently under construction and the 200 nearing completion at Muirhouse Avenue with our partners.

It is the largest housing project in our 21st Century Homes programme and one of the largest housing-led regeneration projects in Scotland.

The plans still need to go to committee but, if approved, the scale of the development will see huge and much-needed investment in that area.

But this is much more about the benefits to local people than the simple number of new homes.

The properties themselves will be well designed and energy efficient, with ten per cent of the council homes accessible for wheelchair users.

There will also be 36 apprenticeships and 24 new entrant construction jobs, plus extra work placements, plus high quality public spaces, including a park, and private and shared gardens.

The whole development has the potential to create opportunities for community enterprise and a “Co-operative Edinburgh” that will stretch well beyond the duration of the construction project.

A key priority for this council is to provide affordable homes for more of Edinburgh’s residents and this is something we are determined to achieve with our partners in the private sector, housing associations and the Scottish Government.

There are 150 bids for every council property that becomes available to let in the city and it has already been identified that we need to deliver 16,000 affordable homes in the next ten years.

More people should have access to affordable, modern homes, not just to improve the quality of their lives but to benefit the city as a whole and create a lasting legacy for the future.

Pennywell is a small, but very significant, step towards that and I’m really looking toward to seeing it take shape.

• Councillor Cammy Day is vice-convener of housing for the city council.