Association to buy 41 new homes for rent

More than 40 homes in Galashiels and Innerleithen are being sold to Eildon Housing Association to make sure they will remain available for affordable rent.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 10:52 am
Updated Thursday, 21st December 2017, 10:56 am
Chris Paterson Place in Galashiels, named after the town's famous rugby internationalist

The 21 houses and flats at Chris Paterson Place in Galashiels – which follows on from William Law Gardens at the extreme north-west end of the town – and 20 flats at James Hogg Court in Innerleithen were developed by Tweed Property Leasing.

They were then acquired by Tweedside National Housing Trust 2011 after Scottish Borders Council agreed to provide affordable homes through the Scottish Government’s National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative.

That enabled the council to borrow and then lend money to the trust to buy the properties.

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Nile Istephan, CEO of Eildon Housing

However, the programme set out that the homes had to be made available for mid-market rent for at least five years and up to a maximum of 10 years, but they then had to be sold at market value to repay the loan to the council.

Following negotiations between the council, the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust, Tweed Property Leasing and Eildon Housing Association, a deal has been reached that avoids the need to sell the homes on the open market and sees Eildon Housing purchasing thems instead.

The current tenants have been given the option to buy their homes at market value or to remain in their homes on the same arrangements as under the NHT initiative long-term.

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, the council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “I am delighted that following the successful delivery of these homes through the National Housing Trust model, we have been able to ensure that they are retained for affordable rent in perpetuity through their sale to Eildon Housing Association.

James Hogg Court, Innerleithen

“The council agreed in 2010 to boost the local affordable housing supply through this model, which safeguarded considerable construction jobs during the two-year construction phase of these sites, provided invaluable support to ensure apprenticeships could be completed and delivered local homes for local people.”

Nile Istephan, chief executive of the Selkirk-based association, said: “We are committed to working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government to address housing need across our communities.

“We are currently undertaking an ambitious programme of growth that will have lasting beneficial impacts on the housing market in the Borders, and we are looking forward to serving our new customers following the completion of this deal.”

Christa Reekie, commercial director at the Scottish Futures Trust, said: “The award-winning NHT programme has seen nearly 1,500 new homes already built across Scotland which are providing tenants with quality, energy-efficient affordable-rent housing.

Nile Istephan, CEO of Eildon Housing

“I’m therefore very pleased with the news that these homes, with funding support from the Scottish Government, will continue to provide affordable rent accommodation for many years to come.”

Andy Pearson, managing director of Tweed Property Leasing, added: “Tweed Property Leasing was the first company in Scotland to sign up to the National Housing Trust initiative in 2011 after Scottish ministers accepted our offer to develop, manage and maintain 50 affordable homes in Galashiels and Innerleithen.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Scottish ministers, the Scottish Futures Trust and Scottish Borders Council on this innovative housing delivery model, and we are delighted to accept a very fair offer for our interest from Eildon Housing Association, as this will preserve the afordability of these homes.”

James Hogg Court, Innerleithen