business support, charities, community, housing, public sector, small business

Jobs boost as £1.6 million business centre opens

Latest stage in £60 million revamp of Craigmillar

THE latest stage in the £60 million revamp of the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh was unveiled today (Monday, 17 December, 2001).

Former Scottish Health Minister Susan Deacon, the area’s local MSP, officially opened Hays Community Business Centre. The £1.6 million complex, off the city’s Niddrie Mains Road, houses a nursery, convenience store and post office – as well as a range of office accommodation. It also offers meeting and training facilities for the local community. Once fully let, it could become home to between 70 and 80 employees.

The business centre was created by Lothian Housing Association to complement the 1000 new homes being built in Craigmillar. Ms Deacon said: “I’m delighted to officially open the business centre, which provides a range of much-needed community facilities as well as accommodation for local firms.

“The completion of this project is another landmark in the multi-million pound regeneration of Craigmillar by local housing associations, in conjunction with Edinburgh City Council, the Government and the local community. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those involved.”

Elizabeth Fairbairn, the chairman of Lothian Housing Association, said: “Craigmillar has changed dramatically in the last few years. From the 1970s to the 1990s it became rundown and vandalised. People left the area and there was a real spiral of decline. Now most of the old houses have been knocked down and new properties have taken their place. The business centre provides a real focus for this new community and offers much-needed job opportunities for local people.

“Lothian Housing Association was delighted to oversee the completion of this project, and pleased Ms Deacon could officially open the development.” She added that the project would not have been possible without the support of the European Regional Development Fund, which provided a large chunk of the funding for the new centre. Other funders included the City Council, the Craigmillar Partnership and Scottish Homes (now the Government body Communities Scotland).

New tenants in the business centre said they were pleased with their new surroundings. “It’s excellent”, said Patsy King of Craigmillar Childcare Services, which runs the nursery and has offices in the new centre. “We’ve only been here since November and we’re already seeing a good response. There are lots of working parents in the new houses and they appreciate having our services on their doorsteps.”

Andrew Gilhooly, who runs the post office and convenience store, agreed. “The response from people has been marvellous. It’s great what has happened here.”

The Craigmillar housing estate was built by the local authority in the 1920s and 30s. In 1996, The Scottish Office earmarked Craigmillar as a priority partnership area, with the aim of regenerating the estate through various bodies, agencies and projects.

MP Gavin Strang chairs the Craigmillar Partnership – the body which brings the various agencies together. He said: “Regeneration of any area is more than just housing. It’s about providing community facilities and job opportunities. This wider contribution is crucial and I welcome the efforts made by Lothian Housing Association.”

Units at the new business centre are available for let. For letting inquiries, please contact CREA8E on 0131 661 8888.


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Notes to the Editors:

For more information about the Lothian Housing Association Limited contact: Lothian Housing Association Limited, 2 Wishaw Terrace, Meadowbank, Edinburgh EH7 6AF Tel.: 0131 652 0152, Fax 0131 652 1233. You can also visit:

Lothian Housing Association is a subsidiary of Castle Rock Housing Association. It was formed by Castle Rock to undertake activities which could not be carried out by a registered, charitable housing association.

Lothian’s work includes providing properties for market rent and running low-cost home ownership schemes as well as providing services to other housing associations and agencies. It currently owns and manages 200 homes in Edinburgh and East Lothian.

Castle Rock is responsible for 3000 homes across the Lothians.