Mind the gap? It's now three affordable homes

Three new one-bedroomed affordable homes, built into a long-standing gap site in Innerleithen, were officially opened on Monday, February 20.

Councillors Graham Garvie, Frances Renton, David Parker and Stuart Bell toast the new affordable homes in Innerleithen
Councillors Graham Garvie, Frances Renton, David Parker and Stuart Bell toast the new affordable homes in Innerleithen

The empty site had long been viewed as an eyesore long-standing eyesore in Innerleithen’s High Street conservation area.

An agreement was reached with developers Waverley Tweed Ltd at the end of 2014 for Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to acquire the three flats when completed.

The Scottish Government contributed £120,000 from its Affordable Housing Supply Programme funding towards the purchase of the properties at 41/43 High Street.

MSP Kevin Stewart

The official opening was carried out by Councillor Graham Garvie, SBC convenor and ward member for Tweeddale East.

Mr Garvie was joined by Councillor Frances Renton, SBC’s executive member for social work and housing, and fellow ward members.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Scottish Government, community councillors and the developers.

Mrs Renton said: “This project has returned a number of benefits, not only providing affordable accommodation for people with priority needs in the centre of Innerleithen, but also improving the quality and appearance of the High Street conservation area.

MSP Kevin Stewart

“I am delighted that the council, with the assistance of the Scottish Government, was able to secure these homes and I wish the new tenants all the best for their future in their new home.”

Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing, said: “This gap site has been an eyesore in the town for many years, but I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to work with SBC and its partners to help deliver this solution.

“The gap site has been replaced with much needed, energy efficient, affordable homes for rent and provides a small but significant contribution to our target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament.”

In addition to the High Street site, six two-bedroom properties at the developer’s adjacent site at 10/14 Waverley Road site were also officially opened.

They have been acquired through SBC’s National Housing Trust Initiative, with Limited Liability Partnership Bridge Homes taking ownership of the houses.

These properties are aimed at helping people who aspire to buy a home to access a high-quality property at a below-market rent with the possibility of buying it after a minimum of five years.

Keith Burns, director of Waverley Tweed Ltd, added: “We are delighted to have completed construction of this development for SBC. The High Street phase removed a gap site which has been a blight on the High Street for many years.

“The Waverley Road phase, as part of the council’s initiative with the National Housing Trust, provides much-needed high-quality affordable housing. The project is testament to the council’s commitment to delivering affordable housing and reflects the hard work of all those involved.”