Minister opens Penicuik affordable homes scheme

(left to right) Abby Kelman, Land Negotiator for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, Pauline Mills, Land and Planning Director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Christine Grahame, MSP and Andrew Noble, Chief Executive of Melville Housing Association.Picture Copyright Chris Watt
(left to right) Abby Kelman, Land Negotiator for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, Pauline Mills, Land and Planning Director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Christine Grahame, MSP and Andrew Noble, Chief Executive of Melville Housing Association.Picture Copyright Chris Watt

A landmark affordable housing development in Penicuik has been officially opened by the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.

The 24 homes at Greenlaw Mill, built for Melville Housing Association by Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, see Melville’s stock numbers reach their highest ever level.

Made possible thanks to funding of £1.68 million from the Scottish Government’s Allia charitable bond scheme, the development is made up of 24 two bedroom flats, three of which are specially-adapted ground floor properties with wet room showers.

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart (SNP), said: “Everyone deserves a safe, warm, affordable place to live, which is why we’re committed to delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

“We rely on the hard work and support of housing associations like Melville to deliver quality developments like these to help us achieve our ambitious target.

“I congratulate Melville on the opening of this landmark development, the first in the area to be funded by the innovative charitable bonds scheme. These new homes will transform the lives of their tenants by giving them a sense of identity and belonging and also help to create a vibrant community that brings people together.”

Melville, Midlothian’s largest registered social landlord, now owns and manages 2,032 properties for rent.

”We are delighted to welcome the Minister to our newest, and record-breaking, development,” said Andrew Noble, chief executive of Melville Housing Association.

“These homes, and all those like them, are only possible thanks to the hard work of staff, the vision of our board and support from our partners at the Scottish Government and Midlothian Council.

“We are committed to helping meet the desperate need for high quality affordable homes in Midlothian but passing our original stock numbers wouldn’t have seemed possible 10 years ago. However with the end of right-to-buy, and thanks to innovative funding models like the Allia charitable bond scheme, the future really does look much more hopeful for the many thousands of people waiting for an affordable Midlothian home.”

This is Melville’s fifth new build project with Taylor Wimpey, a partnership which has so far delivered 92 affordable homes across Midlothian. It is Melville’s first new build development in Penicuik since 2011, and will help meet the local area’s particularly high demand for affordable housing.

Pauline Mills, land and planning director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, said: “We are delighted to continue our strong partnership with Melville Housing Association. As part of the new developments and communities that we create, it is important that we focus on the delivery of high quality new homes of all tenure - social rent, mid-market rent, discounted for sale and private. The partnership that we have with registered social landlords and affordable housing providers are an integral part of our business to deliver the affordable elements of new developments.”

MSP for Midlothian South Christine Grahame (SNP), said: “Having a good quality, affordable and secure home makes such a difference to people’s lives. I was delighted to have the chance to chat to Viviene about her experiences in renting and it’s clear to see how much this home means to her and her daughter.

“Much of the social rent housing stock was obliterated by the Right to Buy scheme, leaving a lack of affordable housing. I’m proud of the Scottish Government’s support for initiatives like this which seek to remedy this and to ensure everyone has access to safe, secure homes.”