Investment and Regeneration Group


Investment in Affordable Rented Housing

A longstanding priority for the Federation has been the need for increased investment to tackle the chronic shortage of affordable rented housing in Edinburgh. This involves pressing the Scottish Government to increase subsidy to match the need for affordable rented housing. Meanwhile we continue to call on the UK government to remove outstanding debt on existing council homes. In one fell swoop this would end unaffordable council rent increases year–on-year to 2015 to deliver the Scottish Housing Quality Standard, and provide the scope to build new council houses through prudential borrowing.

A crucial part of this campaign is a call for an end to the government’s policy bias that favours home ownership at the expense of investment in affordable rented houses. We would like to see this replaced with a policy commitment to invest in and promote affordable rented housing as a positive choice for a wider range of people to create mixed income communities.

Supporting the housing regeneration areas

Alongside this campaign we support the work of the residents in the housing regeneration areas (currently North Sighthill, Gracemount, Leith Fort, Pennywell and Granton Royston Wardieburn) to influence the current re-housing and refurbishment/demolition programmes. Equally important is to support them to secure the investment required to complete the regeneration process and to give them the opportunity to be involved in planning and building the new communities.

Our Outreach Worker provides support to the Registered Tenant Organisations in North Sighthill, Gracemount and Granton Royston Wardieburn. When appropriate we bring representatives together from all the areas to share information and co-ordinate their efforts to secure a better future for these areas.

Working with the Council

At a strategic, city wide level, this work is co-ordinated with the Council through the Investment and Regeneration Group. This is a joint officer and tenant representative working group focusing on the investment strategy and regeneration process. The workload and focus of this group radically altered following the Council decision in August 2008 to explore further the prospect of building 1100 council homes for sale and rent in Pennywell, Gracemount and North Sighthill. The business case was approved by Council in March 2009 allowing Council house building to begin in Edinburgh. Leith Fort and Greendykes are now included in the Council house building programme with new affordable housing begin built in these areas; some in partnership with housing associations.

Our position on building new council houses

ETF welcomes the prospect of once again building council houses in Edinburgh, in particular affordable rented council houses. We especially welcome the opportunity it provides the residents in the housing regeneration areas to be involved in planning and building new sustainable communities. We will support them to play a central role in this process and have recently drawn up good practice guidelines with the council on participation in regeneration. Click here to download a copy of these guidelines.

Whilst the credit crunch adds to the difficulties in creating a financially viable business case, it also exacerbates the housing crisis and makes the argument for more affordable rented housing ever stronger. Surely the exclusive promotion of home ownership, always unsustainable and unwanted by many, will now end and the desirability of a thriving affordable rented sector will be recognised.

With the business case approved ETF was able to have an opportunity to scrutinise and influence the business case. We were wary about some of the proposals such as mid market rent properties and the number of houses for sale at market rate that are made available. We argued that mid market rents are not affordable; however the Council made their case that people do need this type of tenure. Mid market rent is aimed at those who are unable to get on the property market at this time and is cheaper than a private rent but more expensive than social rent. By introducing mid market rent, shared equity and houses for sale at market rent has allowed the Council to build social rented housing. We would of course have preferred all the new housing to be social rent but this would not have been financially possible so have had to compromise.

Investment & Regeneration Working Group

The Investment and Regeneration Group has not met for a number of years but we will monitor the situation and if tenants and RTOs from the regeneration areas would like to revive this group then we could consider the need.

If you would like further information on any aspect of the work on investment and regeneration and the proposal to build council houses in the regeneration areas contact the Federation office on 0131 475 2509 or by email to