£55m urban village plan to provide 200 affordable homes in the North East

PLANS have been unveiled for a £55 million urban village in the heart of Aberdeen, which will include the largest affordable housing development ever built in the North-east.

More than 200 homes for rent or shared equity are to be built as part of the massive redevelopment of the site of the former Donside paper mill on the banks of the River Don in Tillydrone.

The new urban village, scheduled for completion in 2014, will also include office space and business start-up units, a children's nursery, neighbourhood shops and a further 77 private homes for sale.

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The Scottish Government is committing 21m to the scheme, with local housing associations providing another 12m towards the construction of a total of 209 low-cost homes.

A further 22 million will be invested by the Tenants First Housing Co-operative, Langstane Housing Association and private business.

Housing and communities minister Alex Neil said: "This development marks a historic milestone for social housing in the North-east. It is the biggest project of its kind ever undertaken in the region, which will not only offer quality affordable homes for local families, but will also provide a tremendous economic boost for Aberdeen.

"It is excellent news for the hard-pressed local construction industry and related businesses.

Sandy Murray, the chief executive of Tenants First Housing Co-operative, added: "We believe the Donside Urban Village is a flagship development that would prove a fitting launch pad for the regeneration of the Tillydrone area. It will not only bring new life to a derelict brownfield site, we see it acting as a catalyst for further regeneration within the community."

Councillor Aileen Malone, the housing convener of Aberdeen City Council, also welcomed the investment.

The council is currently using more than 180 properties to provide temporary accommodation for the homeless. There are more than 6,000 people on the council waiting list for homes.