Once empty homes an eyesore no more

Castle Rock Edinvar  MD Richard Jennings, Tenant Nick Martin,  Councillor Stephen Curran, with local councillor Kenneth Baird, John Hackett and Peter Smaill
Castle Rock Edinvar MD Richard Jennings, Tenant Nick Martin, Councillor Stephen Curran, with local councillor Kenneth Baird, John Hackett and Peter Smaill

An empty building dubbed an eyesore by locals has been transformed into affordable homes thanks to Scottish Government funding.

The Darag development in Mayfield has had a chequered past and was last used several years ago by Midlothian Council’s Homeless department as a house of multiple occupancy. However, the property had been empty for many years, targeted by vandals and falling into serious disrepair following a fire.

Thanks to a £241,000 grant and a loan of £245,000 as part of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Empty Homes Fund, the building now includes six new affordable homes, including a three-bedroom ground floor flat with full disabled access.

Vehicle technician Nick Martin (31) was the first to move into the completed development, now run by Castle Rock Edinvar housing association. He said: “I’ve lived in Mayfield all my life and was aware that Darag had lain empty for a number of years.

“I was delighted to get a call from Castle Rock Edinvar to say the building was being redeveloped and there was a flat available for me if I wanted it.

“I was the first to move in and I’m really happy here, everything is brand new.

“I have two bedrooms which is great for when my kids come to stay, and they love it as well. We have a shared garden and really good neighbours.”

Richard Jennings, Castle Rock Edinvar managing director, said: “By working together with public and private sector partners we have transformed a derelict trouble spot into desirable accommodation that is helping to meet demand for quality affordable housing in the area. It wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Empty Homes Fund.

“We have had very positive feedback on the development from the local community and our housing management team is on hand to help new tenants to fully participate with the existing range of activities and services available locally.”

Councillor Stephen Curran (Lab), cabinet member for customer and housing services, said: “It is fantastic to see the completion of the Darag development in Mayfield. The site has had a mixed past but it really is great to see its transformation into quality affordable homes.

“Thanks to the support of the Empty Homes Fund, and partnership work across both public and private sectors, we have been able to provide some brilliant homes for local families.”