Fact finding visit for housing minister at LAR development

Scotland’s housing minister has been given a progress report on a project to tackle the shortage of mid market rental homes across Scotland.

Kevin Stewart MSP was visiting LAR Housing Trust’s multi million pound development at Westwood House in the west of Edinburgh.

(from left) LAR CEO Ann Leslie; housing minister Kevin Stewart; Clark Contracts director Michael Scanlan and LAR project manager Philip Walker

The project was the housing charity’s first commercial to residential conversion since launching in October 2015 and is set to provide 47 mid market rental flats.

Westwood House, which is being converted for LAR by Clark Contracts, is on schedule to open its doors to tenants by late summer this year and is one of 24 LAR sites across Scotland. The development consists of 18 one-bed, 27 two-bed and two three-bed flats.

LAR chief executive, Ann Leslie, said: “We have made excellent progress in the last couple of years and currently have over 600 homes occupied, under construction or in the planning process so far. Our aim is to provide as many good quality homes as possible and we are well ahead of our original targets.

“We have had unstinting support from the Scottish Government and the various local authorities and contractors with whom we have worked and I’m very grateful that the Minister has come to visit this important development for us, our first in Edinburgh. He has been taking a very active interest in our progress and has been a regular visitor to a number of our sites.”

Westwood House

Mr Stewart said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s initial £55 million loan means LAR Housing Trust can undertake a broad range of developments that contribute to the supply of new, affordable homes across Scotland.

“Working innovatively with partners like LAR is an example of how we are delivering our target of 50,000 affordable homes in this parliamentary term, while also increasing the supply of housing options so everyone in Scotland has access to affordable, good quality homes that meet their needs.”

LAR has announced it will start the search for tenants at the end of May and is expecting considerable interest in an area in desperate need of good quality affordable housing.

Michael Scanlan, director at Clark Contracts, said: “It was fantastic to be able to provide an update on our works here at Westwood House and we are thrilled to be working with LAR Housing Trust to help them achieve their target of providing good quality, affordable homes across Scotland.”

LAR has also purchased 40 homes in a second former office block in the area, Chesser House, with tenants also expected to move into that development by late summer 2019.

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