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28 June 2022

Urban Union to deliver net zero affordable homes through Edinburgh Home Demonstrator Programme

The latest phase of the regeneration of Greendykes by The City of Edinburgh Council, to be delivered by regeneration specialist Urban Union, is set to move ahead following a funding boost of just over £620,000.

Funding has been secured from this year's Vacant & Derelict Land Investment Programme, enabling the Council to clean the site and improve ground conditions, while work begins to design new, affordable, net zero carbon homes.

The Council expects to fund the build of around 130 homes on the site. Urban Union will now progress plans for the homes via the Edinburgh Home Demonstrator Programme – an innovative new business model for delivering affordable homes based around greater use of offsite construction.

Through collaboration with local and national government, academia and the construction industry, The Edinburgh Home Demonstrator Programme will establish improvements in new affordable housing with a focus on time, cost, quality and carbon reduction. The programme was set up to develop and test a new business model for the construction of affordable homes using offsite construction methods. It has the potential to transform the productivity and performance of affordable housing and enable a move towards homes build to net zero standards.

Planning permission in principle has already been granted as part of an existing masterplan. The Council and Urban Union will engage with local people on home designs in coming months. Subject to ground works, it is anticipated that the first properties will be delivered in phases from early-2024 to mid-2025.

Councillor Jane Meagher, the Council's Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener, said:

"Never has our need for better housing been greater as we face a cost-of-living crisis and a climate emergency, so we need to be really ambitious and use the small amount of space we have in our city creatively.

"For years, developers have overlooked this empty piece of land because of how complex it is to unlock. Yet, it's situated minutes away from the Innocent Railway cycle path and is close to the Royal Infirmary and local employment. The area benefits from countless bus links into the city centre and it is a fantastic place to live.

"I'm thrilled that we're going to be able to put the green back into Greendykes and we'll work with local residents as we create these new net zero carbon homes. The funding will help us to transform the land and the local environment, while also providing new affordable and efficient places for people to live in line with our major housebuilding strategy."

Neil McKay, managing director, Urban Union said:

"As a delivery partner for the regeneration of Greendykes, it is our responsibility to ensure that we provide homes that not only create a community but that bring benefits to the occupiers and the wider environment.

"By utilising the Edinburgh Home Demonstrator Programme, the Council is showing its commitment not only to its tenants through the selection of quality homes but to innovation and the City's pledge to be net zero by 2030.

"We are looking forward to meeting with the local residents to discuss the plans for the new homes and to obtaining their valuable input which will make sure that Greendykes becomes a blueprint for city centre regeneration."