EDINBURGH’S chronic shortage of affordable housing is to be tackled with a total of almost 900 new homes for rent being provided.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced the new National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative yesterday.

Edinburgh Council has already delivered more than 400 NHT homes with hundreds more in the pipeline.

The council has also given planning permission to developers Grosvenor for 400 “built to rent” homes in the Fountainbridge area of the city. The latest NHT 234-home development at the Western Harbour brings the total number of Trust homes approved across Scotland to more than 2,000.

The Scottish Government says its financial innovation is unlocking strategic sites for housing development across the country, delivering more homes for less public investment.

Edinburgh Council, Scottish Futures Trust and the Forth Ports Group are spearheading the Waterfront development, which is being built by Hart Builders.

Neil said: “The contribution from innovative financing approaches, such as NHT, using government guarantees, loans, grant recycling and new sources of private funding is substantial and growing.

“Edinburgh has wholeheartedly embraced the NHT, the first guarantee-based model for housing in the UK, as one that can help ease the city’s housing pressures.

“People in the capital will have access to a quality home at an affordable rent and the NHT model allows them to save for a mortgage whilst staying in the home that they may be able to buy.

“NHT, which is providing affordable homes without the need for grant subsidy, has reached a milestone with over 2,000 homes approved for construction.

“More generally, we have exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes in this Parliament, including over 20,000 homes for social rent.

“Our new target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years is bold, credible and affordable. This is a 67 per cent increase in completed homes over the next five year period.”

Councillor Norman Work said: “The council has committed over £100 million for NHT in Edinburgh and this will deliver almost 900 affordable homes throughout the city.

“Edinburgh has a shortage of affordable housing and This 234-home development will make a significant contribution towards the regeneration of Western Harbour and creating an integrated sustainable community.”

“Edinburgh is a growing city and meeting the need for new, good quality and good value homes is a major part of the Council’s Capital Coalition commitment to ensure that the city’s residents are well housed.

“The Council will continue to seek innovative funding solutions through collaborative working partnerships to deliver affordable homes”.

Christa Reekie, commercial director at the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), explained: “Today’s announcement clearly illustrates the huge impact SFT’s award-winning National Housing Trust programme is having and further consolidates the partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and SFT even further.”

Colin Macdonald of Hart Builders, part of the Cruden Group said: “We are delighted to be working with Forth Ports, Rettie & Co., the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust and City of Edinburgh Council to deliver this development at Western Harbour.

“It will not only provide a secure and sustainable environment, but will also enable Hart to maintain current employment and training opportunities over the lifetime of the construction period.”

Nick Watson, Director at Rettie & Co. said: “Over the last three years Rettie and Co has enabled and coordinated the delivery of much-needed new rental stock for the city of Edinburgh.”

The Grosvenor development will see up to 400 new homes in the former industrial area of Fountainbridge close to the city centre. The first phase of development at Springside is already complete, and comprises 250 homes, including homes for sale, affordable homes for the ‘frail and elderly,’ serviced apartments and two student residences providing accommodation for over 600 students.

David Yaldron, director of city centre developments for Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “We welcome the City of Edinburgh Council’s forward-thinking decision in granting planning consent. Our project team has collaborated closely with local neighbourhood organisations and the decision marks an important and exciting step forward for the area’s wider regeneration. “In addition to new homes, this consent includes plans for a new public square, community spaces and commercial and retail space, which we hope will add to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and re-position it as one of the best places to live in Edinburgh.”