Pennywell useA regeneration project in North Edinburgh is getting underway this week and some Craigroyston pupils were on hand to help start things off.

A total of 719 high quality private and affordable homes will be built as part of the Muirhouse and Pennywell area master plan. The first phase is due to commence on the site of the former Craigroyston High School on Pennywell Road.

The Council has committed over £42m to the project which is levering in a substantial amount of private investment to the area.

With 60 new jobs and apprenticeships and 180 placement opportunities available, the local community is set to feel the benefits.

Pupils from Craigroyston Primary joined the City of Edinburgh Council’s Housing Leader, Cllr Cammy Day, and directors from site developer Urban Union to officially mark the start of the work.

The Pennywell development will be delivered by the Council’s 21st Century Homes programme and will lead to 356 homes becoming available for social and mid-market rent over the next six years. Urban Union will sell the remaining 363 homes privately. Delivered in four phases, the first phase will lead to 193 homes, of which 108 will be for the Council, being built by the end of 2016.

The project will also deliver a number of community benefits, including jobs and training through apprenticeships and work placements.

An Arts Strategy for the regeneration is being developed and Urban Union recently appointed North Edinburgh Arts to take this forward. Other plans for the area include a play area, park, a community garden and landscaping.

Cllr Day said: “Residents will be delighted to see the start of work on the initial part of this project, which will breathe new life into the north of the city.

“Quality housing and access to jobs are major steps in tackling poverty, and working in partnership with companies such as Urban Union, NHS Lothian and local community groups will help to improve the future health and wellbeing of locals, as well as attract people to the area.

“The creation of training and job opportunities as well as new high quality affordable homes and investment in the area will support the local community and the economy.

“This will help to meet the high demand for homes in Edinburgh and create a sustainable neighbourhood in partnership with the local community.”

Janice Russell, Director of Urban Union, said: “We are now looking forward to moving on site and progressing with one of Scotland’s largest and most significant homes-led regeneration projects.

“As well as homes, the Pennywell project is also set to deliver a huge range of benefits – including apprenticeships and construction jobs as well as an innovative artworks strategy which will all deliver wider opportunities for the local community.

“Most importantly, we now want to build on the high level of community engagement which has already taken place in the development of the masterplan for the area. There will be opportunities for the community to be involved in finalising the plans for public spaces as well creating a range of community enterprises and partnership working.

“Our track record in Scotland shows we are 100% committed to community engagement and we look forward to developing strong local partnerships which will form the cornerstone of our development street.”

Roy Douglas, chairperson of the Muirhouse and Salvesen Community Council, said: “The local community will be really happy to see that the work on this major project is starting. The development is a vital step forward in the regeneration of this area and will bring vital jobs and low-cost housing.”