City ready to spend £55m on reviving 'ghost estates'

COUNCIL chiefs today unveiled the sites across the city which they hope will provide up to 600 new homes as part of a joint initiative to revive mothballed developments.

The council is to borrow 55 million to help buy up flats on "ghost estates", where development has stalled because of the recession.

The joint initiative involving the city council, the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust and private developers is expected to involve four firms on five sites in Craigmillar, Leith, Granton and Lochend.

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The scheme, part of the Government's National Housing Trust (NHT), will see the council lend two-thirds of building costs, with the remainder coming from the private firm.

The homes will be rented at a mid-market rate for a minimum of five years. Between years five and ten, the properties will then be resold, with the receipts used to pay for the council's borrowing before any private sector borrowing is repaid.

The sites are:

• Lochend North (developer: Places for People); part of the wider Lochend Butterfly redevelopment behind Easter Road and Meadowbank

• Waterfront Avenue, Granton, known as Madelvic 8 (developer: Places for People); part of the Granton Waterfront Regeneration area

• Telford North (developer: Miller Homes); the former Telford College northern campus located on the edge of Granton and North Fettes

• Salamander Place (developer: Hillcrest Housing Association and Teague Homes); part of the former Whyte & Mackay bottling plant, off Salamander Street, Leith

• Niddrie Mains Road (developer: New City Vision); located on the corner of Duddingston Road West and Niddrie Mains Road in the Craigmillar regeneration area

Council housing convener Paul Edie said: "Securing up to 600 affordable homes would be a significant achievement given the current climate. This has been a very thorough process and I am pleased we are getting closer to the finishing line.

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"Everyone knows more needs to be done and it's good that the public and private sector are working in partnership on this."

Housing Minister Keith Brown said: "We will soon see several hundred affordable homes being developed through this ground-breaking initiative, safeguarding hundreds of jobs.

"I am delighted that Edinburgh City Council has embraced this approach as one that can help ease housing pressures locally, and that they have been successful in attracting this level and quality of developer interest."

Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, said: "In these challenging economic times, NHT opens the doors to build affordable housing in Scotland. This demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together in an imaginative way.

"Such innovation is at the heart of Scottish Futures Trust's work."