THEY once dominated the skyline of west Edinburgh – a towering reminder of an era when high-rise flats were considered the future of social housing.
But Sighthill’s three remaining residential tower blocks – Glenalmond Court, Hermiston Court and Weir Court – were demolished and consigned to history in September 2011, three years after the ten-storey Broomview House was also knocked down.
Now, five years on, a £35 million regeneration project is set to revamp the area for the 21st century, after Edinburgh Council signed a contract with Keepmoat Regeneration.
The major development, which is being constructed on the site of the old high-rises, will see 316 houses and flats built, with 184 homes for affordable rent and 132 for sale.
Bosses said it would include a “variety of gardens and open space for residents”, which every home designed to ensure heating costs are kept low.
Construction work is expected to begin in spring next year, with the first council homes available to rent by early 2019.
The signing of the contract took place yesterday in an event hosted by the Lord Provost in the City Chambers.
Councillor Joan Griffiths, the city’s housing leader, said: “North Sighthill is one of the largest new house-building projects in Edinburgh, after the regeneration of Pennywell in the north which is well underway.
“This development is a key part the council’s commitment, working with housing associations, to deliver 16,000 affordable and low-cost homes and nearly £2 billion investment over the next ten years.
“This project is now part of a larger programme already delivering new affordable homes in Leith, Newhaven, Craigmillar, Pennywell, Gracemount and Chesser in one of the most ambitious council-led housebuilding programmes in the UK.”
Keepmoat will construct all 316 of the new energy-efficient homes, providing a jobs boost for the area with opportunities for work experience and training.
Eamonn McGarvey, regional managing director for the regeneration division at Keepmoat in Scotland, said: “Our proposals shall create a development that Edinburgh can be proud of – benefitting from a cohesive, high quality public realm and seamless tenure that generates a sense of community and civic pride that helps to create jobs and improve the area’s social and economic prosperity and attractiveness.
“We face a well-documented skills crisis in the construction industry and this project offers an ideal opportunity to upskill a new generation in varying construction disciplines.
“We shall engage enthusiastically and positively with local schools and colleges to encourage young people to consider careers in the construction industry. We are once again delighted to be working with Edinburgh council and supporting their vision.”