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Miller Homes and Edinburgh council join up to accelerate housing

27 Oct 11 Miller Homes has formed a limited liability partnership (LLP) with the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Futures’ Trust (SFT) as part of the National Housing Trust’s initiative to fast-track new housing for mid-market rental in Scotland.

The NHT wants to make more homes available at affordable rents in areas where demand outstrips availability. Its initiative enables councils and developers to come together to kickstart construction on sites that might otherwise have taken a longer time to get underway, safeguarding jobs in the housebuilding industry. Edinburgh is one of the government’s target areas for accelerated affordable housing delivery.

The partnership will see Miller Homes start work on 89 new homes at its Varcity North development before the end of 2011. Once completed, the LLP will let the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to employed tenants, predominantly key workers struggling to get onto the property ladder or to afford full market rents.

The LLP will use a managing agent, Lothian Homes, to manage the completed properties, identify potential tenants and manage the rentals over the contract term.  Under the initiative homes must be available to rent over a 5-10 year period. After that, tenants will have to buy their house at the market value or move out.  Should tenants opt not to buy, the LLP will sell the property on the open market.

Miller Homes Scotland managing director David Knight said: “Miller Homes is delighted to participate in this unique and innovative means of addressing the shortfall in new affordable homes in the city. The financial model of the partnership between SFT, the local authority and ourselves will see these homes available for rent by mid-2013.  This initiative also places considerably less reliance on the public purse for the delivery of affordable housing in the city.

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“The homes will be developed to Miller Homes’ usual high standards in terms of the quality of the build, fixtures and fittings and we’ve worked very closely with the NHT and Council to secure the necessary consents to proceed. We welcome the pace at which they, and other key stakeholders, have worked to secure this initiative for Edinburgh and to drive it forward.

“At such a challenging time for the public and private sectors, it is welcome that government recognises the important role that the private sector can play in supporting local government meet its obligations in terms of affordable housing.

”In addition to providing affordable rents for key workers, enabling them to live in the city, the initiative also safeguards employment within the housebuilding industry.  Both of which provide the potential to deliver further economic benefits for Edinburgh.”

Miller Homes purchased the Varcity North site as part of a larger transaction from Telford College, which comprised three campuses (Telford South, Telford West and Telford North). The development of Telford West campus for Home Scotland Housing Association (40 affordable dwellings) was completed last year. The last campus, now known as Varcity North, comprises 327 apartments within five new build blocks and a converted listed building.  The apartments under the initiative comprise 89 apartments built over two new blocks.

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