Edinburgh's housing crisis: Edinburgh council to buy surplus homes from Ministry of Defence
The city council is set to buy up to 78 surplus homes from the Ministry of Defence to help tackle the Capital’s housing crisis.
The two- and three-bedroom houses on the Dreghorn estate will be released in phases as they become vacant, but the council’s finance committee is expected to give formal approval later this month for the purchase of the first tranche of 23 homes, with garages, for £5,723,750. The Dreghorn estate is close to both Dreghorn and Redford barracks, but it is understood changing preferences mean there is no longer as much demand for military houses.
Scott Arthur, Labour councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, which includes the area, welcomed the move to convert the empty MoD properties to council houses and said it would be “transformative” for some families. He said: "One of the biggest issues in my ward is the lack of affordable accommodation. There are many people living in temporary accommodation, particularly in Firrhill and Oxgangs, and a lot of families living in overcrowded accommodation. Some of these people have been waiting many years for a council home they can call their own and bring their family up in.
“Empty homes in the Dreghorn estate have been a source of frustration in the ward for many years, so I am pleased that the MoD have now found a way to put them in the hands of the people who need them most. I know that there will be significant demand for these homes from those on the council’s waiting list.”
But he said it was important that the MoD respected the rights and expectations of those currently living in the Dreghorn estate. “I discussed this with Edinburgh’s housing and finance conveners and it was agreed that we would expect the MoD to allow any tenancies to end naturally before any transfer to the council is made.” And he added: “While I welcome these homes being transferred to the council, what Edinburgh really needs is the funding to build more genuinely affordable homes.”
Soaring rents, high property prices and ever-increasing demand for homes in the Capital have fuelled Edinburgh’s housing crisis and left many feeling priced out of the market. A Bank of Scotland report last year said a typical home in Edinburgh now costs around seven times the average wage. And Edinburgh was named the most expensive place in Scotland to buy a house, as well as the place with the highest rents and the place with more people homeless than anywhere else.