Hundreds of new homes planned for Leith

More than 850 new homes are set to be build in Leith under plans by a housing association to invest tens of millions over the next five years.

An artist impression of one of the developments.
An artist impression of one of the developments.

The homes are being planned to provide social housing and mid-market rent properties across various sites.

Funding from the government and a long term loan through insurance company Canada Life is allowing Port of Leith Housing Association to to invest £89 million into new housing and £7 million into improving the quality of its existing homes such as kitchen and bathroom replacements and new windows, doors and insulation to improve energy efficiency.

The future developments, some of which are already underway at Leith Fort and Constitution Street, will feature a mix of two to four bedroom flats and colony style housing, hoping to attract a mix of generations to help create communities.

The association’s board have now approved revisions to their five year housing development plan, which now addresses the uncertainties in the housing market, higher than average prices and very high demand for social housing and mid-market rent properties.

Keith Anderson, chief executive said: “Edinburgh’s residents face ongoing high house prices and continued high demand for affordable, secure and high quality housing for rent.

“It is crucial that we deliver enough homes to respond, so I am delighted that our Board has approved plans to increase our new development activity over the next five years.

“The building of these new homes will still require us to rely on a mixture of public subsidy and private finance.

“However the flexibility and tailored finance package we have secured in the last year will enable us to deliver more than we previously anticipated.”

A report by the city council in September last year identified continued high demand for social rented homes.

Currently there are around 23,000 people registered with EdIndex, the citywide housing register.

And last year there was an average of 167 bids for each home advertised through the choice based letting system.

Leith Labour councillor Gordon Munro said: “This is good news and most welcome.

Housing is the main issue raised in my surgery by constituents.

“The return of the private landlord means that some people are using a lot of their wage to pay the rent.

“Fuel poverty is another issue and good quality homes built to high standards can tackle this problem.

“But just as important is that people want to live in and around Leith and this funding, which we need more of for housing, makes it happen.”

The association is the largest social landlord in Leith, and currently provides homes for 4,000 people annually.

“The association has a responsibility to play an active role in the regeneration of Leith and north Edinburgh,” added Mr Anderson.

“The new Waterfront extension and ambitious Edinburgh Local Development plan will require the association ensures further supply of affordable housing in the new and growing communities being created.

“Our ambition is to build new communities which are well connected, mixed and sustainable.

“We are also committed to continue to focus on our wider role projects including supporting people into employment, supporting people to live independently, and improving environmental conditions to ensure Leith and North Edinburgh is a great place to live, work and enjoy.”

Warnings rents set to rise by 20 per cent in five years - pages 6/7