Edinburgh, 3 December 2013; Margaret Burgess Minister for Housing and Welfare today (Tuesday 3rd December) joined Castle Rock Edinvar chair Dr Cathy Garnerand managing director Alister Steele at an event in Edinburgh to launch the housing association’s ‘1000 new homes for Edinburgh’ initiative. The event took place at West Gait, a newly completed £10 million mixed tenure development of 93 new houses and flats for social rent, shared equity, shared ownership and mid-market rent.
Castle Rock Edinvar, part of Places for People, and its subsidiary company Places for People Scotland has agreed with the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council to release and recycle value from existing property assets to support a programme of 1000 new affordable homes in Edinburgh over five years using the Housing Association Grant (HAG) Recycling Pilot. Income generated from asset sales and the transfer of 300 void properties into the mid-market sector will be reinvested in affordable housing in the Capital, supporting some 1500 jobs in the local economy.
Commenting at the launch, Castle Rock Edinvar managing director Alister Steele said;
“We are delighted to announce our programme to provide 1000 new homes for Edinburgh. Castle Rock Edinvar is committed to continuing to provide new affordable homes in Edinburgh and, with less grant funding available, we have recognised the need to innovate in order to achieve our aims.’
‘The additional income generated through leasing stock to let at intermediate rent allows us to increase borrowing, and with Places for People’s ability to raise capital funding, and the agreement reached with the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council, we are going to make a significant contribution to the housing supply and economic growth in the city in the next five years. West Gait represents value for money for the public purse and demonstrates our approach to providing high quality new homes was a real choice for people in renting or buying.”
The West Gait development occupies a brownfield site in the West Pilton area of the capital. The new energy efficient homes boast spacious rooms and quality finishes and are situated around private courtyard gardens with play areas for children. City of Edinburgh Council provided £2.3 million grant funding in partnership with Scottish Government for the development.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said:
“Housing initiatives such as Castle Rock Edinvar’s ‘1000 homes for Edinburgh’, which, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, is making use of the Scottish Government’s Housing Association Grant Recycling Pilot, are crucial in providing mix-tenure affordable homes for Edinburgh residents, while also supporting the construction industry and creating more local jobs.
“Housing is a major priority for this Government and we are committed to delivering our commitment of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament.”
Housing Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Cammy Day, said:
“Building 1,000 affordable homes is a major and welcome contribution to tackling Edinburgh’s acute shortage of affordable homes. This is an excellent initiative and I look forward to working with Castle Rock Edinvar to help them deliver this commitment.
“West Gait is a great example of how new modern, energy efficient social housing can meet housing needs and help build communities and I look forward to the completion of more of these developments across the city.”
Notes for Editors
Castle Rock Edinvar is one of Scotland's leading housing associations and a Scottish Charity.
Part of Places for People, one of the largest property management, development and regeneration companies in the UK with assets of over a £3 billion, Castle rock Edinvar owns or manages over 6000 homes and works with over 8000 customers across 8 local authority areas. Places for People Scotland is a subsidiary of Castle Rock Edinvar.
The Housing Association Grant Recycling Pilot was launched in March 2011 and runs to March 2017. It introduced flexibility to the approach Scottish Government can take to recycling Housing Association Grant and has created a new source of funding for Housing Associations which can be used to support new affordable housing provision. When surplus affordable housing is either sold or converted to Intermediate Rent, instead of requiring that historic grant is paid back to Scottish Government, Scottish Ministers can agree to either transfer or waive this grant to allow another new project to proceed. The proceeds of selling properties or the extra income generated by converting social rented properties to Intermediate Rent can be used to increase Housing Association borrowing for the provision of new and additional affordable housing. The guidance note for the pilot can be found here.