A £1.3 million housing project was officially opened today (April 22) by Scottish Social Justice Minister Iain Gray.
The new development – spread over two sites – provides much-needed flats for rent in the centre of Dunfermline.
The project, in the town’s Bruce Street, was carried out by Canmore Housing Association. Working with local contractors, Canmore transformed a gap site at 36-38 Bruce Street into 14 new flats and refurbished a further six flats above shops at nearby number 5.
The Minister – whose social justice and planning portfolio includes housing – toured the new homes today and met tenants.
He was accompanied by representatives of the government body Communities Scotland, previously Scottish Homes, which provided around £850,000 worth of grant aid to support the project.
The development was also backed by £50,000 from Scottish Enterprise Fife and £440,000 worth of private funding from Dunfermline Building Society.
Paul Smith, the chairman of Canmore, said: “Dunfermline, like most towns in Scotland, has a high demand for good-quality, rented housing.
“It’s no surprise, therefore, that all 20 of the new flats in Bruce Street have been let. Hopefully all the new tenants will be very happy in their new homes.”
Mr Smith said the project provided accommodation for single people and families. In addition, three of the flats at 36-38 Bruce Street were specially constructed for elderly and disabled tenants.
He added: “The wider impact of this development is that it has supported the ongoing regeneration of Dunfermline town centre. The refurbished flats at 5 Bruce Street, for example, were unoccupied for a number of years. And the block of new build flats at 36-38 Bruce Street has filled up an empty site with attractive new homes.
“The project has also provided a boost for the local economy. Our main contractor was Muir Construction, which is based in Inverkeithing. And most of the sub-contractors were from Dunfermline and other parts of Fife.
“Even the architect used – Oliver and Robb of Dunfermline – was local.”
One the tenants in the new properties is 84-year-old Margaret Simpson. She moved from the outskirts of Dunfermline to her new town centre home.
“The people at Canmore have been very nice and I love my new flat,” she said. “It’s very spacious and warm – and handy for the shops. Before I’d have to get two buses to get into the town centre. Now it’s on my doorstep. Everything’s so convenient.
“It really is a lovely development here and everybody seems to be delighted with their flats.”
Graeme Dalziel, the chief executive of Dunfermline Building Society, said his organisation was pleased to support the project. He said: “As a founding member of the Dunfermline Town Centre Management Board, there is added pleasure for Dunfermline Building Society to be assisting Canmore Housing Association with the funding of this housing development.
“Bringing people back to live in the centre of the town can only help with the regeneration of Dunfermline’s town centre.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Canmore Housing Association is a non-profit making body, which has its headquarters in Edinburgh. It manages around 2000 homes for rent and shared ownership in east central Scotland. Named after Malcolm Canmore – one of Scotland’s earliest kings – the association has grown steadily, developing homes that adapt and cater for changing needs. The organisation is also innovative, believing that successful and dynamic communities require an imaginative approach to housing development.
2. Communities Scotland is the Scottish Executive agency which replaced Scottish Homes on November 1, 2001. The agency has a broader community regeneration remit and is directly accountable to Ministers and the Scottish Parliament.
3. A separate release on today’s opening – with quotes from the Minister – is being released by Communities Scotland. Visit http://www.communitiesscotland.gov.uk or contact Anne Graham at Communities Scotland on 0131 479 5167.
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