A partnership between Port of Leith Housing Association and the City of Edinburgh Council has delivered a new community of affordable homes in Leith. An opening ceremony, led by Kevin Stewart MSP, the Minister for Local Government & Housing, took place on Tuesday 31 October at the site of the 18th century Leith Fort which was the first home of the world famous ‘One o’clock gun’ now housed at Edinburgh Castle.
The development contains 62 new homes for mid-market rent by Port of Leith Housing Association’s subsidiary Persevere Developments and 32 homes for social rent by the City of Edinburgh Council which were constructed by CCG.
The project was funded by Port of Leith Housing Association, the City of Edinburgh Council and a grant of almost £3 million from the Scottish Government.
The properties, including a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom homes, are a modern take on the traditional Edinburgh colonies concept. All homes have private south west facing gardens and main door access. Tenants also have access to parking within the site and a communal landscaped area.
Margaret O’Connor, Chair of Port of Leith Housing Association, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing another development of high-quality, affordable and family-friendly homes to Leith. It has been an honour for all partners to have played a role in breathing new life into this iconic site by delivering such a successful modern interpretation of the Edinburgh colonies. These great new places for people to call home are part of our plans to build an additional 800 affordable homes for people in Leith and north Edinburgh over the next five years.
“The history of the site plays an important part in the story of Edinburgh. We hope that a new community will flourish and write its own history here.”
Councillor Gavin Barrie, Housing and Economy Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I am delighted to be attending the official opening of the development at Leith Fort. This is the latest development to be opened following the Council’s coalition pledge to deliver 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes over the next ten years.
“We are very pleased to have worked with Port of Leith Housing Association to deliver these high-quality, modern homes modelled on the Edinburgh colonies concept. Of course, housing is so much more than buildings it’s about communities and this scheme has recognised that from the start. The local community has been engaged throughout the process and have been put at the heart of the project. They’ve had input into early designs, through planning, architectural work and the street naming process.
“I wish to congratulate everyone at the Council and Port of Leith involved in the success of the development and I wish residents all the very best in their new homes.”
Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this new affordable housing development, which has become a reality with nearly £3 million of Scottish Government funding. Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to our drive to make Scotland fairer and more prosperous. And developments like this, along with Edinburgh City Council’s commitment to deliver 20,000 affordable homes over the next decade, will play a big part in helping to realise that ambition.
“We are committed to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes over this Parliament – backed by £3 billion of investment. With 70% of these homes being for social rent, that is a bold target. As Leith Fort demonstrates, with close partnership working between councils and housing associations delivering 94 affordable, energy-efficient homes, I am confident the target can be achieved.”
CCG utilised a mix of traditional and off-site methods of construction for the project with traditional blockwork used to construct the properties on the ground floor of each of the seven blocks of housing, and the iQ closed panel timber frame system for the first and second floors thereafter.
Calum Murray, Director of CCG, said: “The Leith Fort project has brought much needed affordable homes to the area and is in a great location, with access to transport, schools and green space, it will surely be popular for families and young professionals alike.
The homes were constructed to the highest quality standards using the iQ closed panel timber frame system which is manufactured in CCG OSM at our Cambuslang headquarters. Delivered to site with pre-installed components including windows, doors and insulation, this ensures greater accuracy during manufacture and a faster speed of build. Complimented by our construction approach on site, it is estimated that an additional 60 weeks would have been required if the project was constructed entirely using traditional methods.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with both Port of Leith HA and the City of Edinburgh Council to support future housing aspirations.”
Jakub Stojek, 37, moved into one of Port of Leith Housing Association’s mid-market rent homes at Leith Fort in July. Jakub said: “I quickly became fascinated with a colourful history attached to the place – originally built in 1780 as military base to defend Leith against the American navy, in the second half of the 20th century it made way for a housing estate.
“High quality, low cost and energy efficient housing is simply out of reach for many people in Edinburgh, so these mid market rent homes offer one solution to the problem.
“It’s very unusual to see a modern take on the colony-style houses that are so characteristic of Edinburgh, and I think that makes Leith Fort an important place for Leith and Edinburgh. There’s definitely lots of potential for a very strong community to develop here.”