The completion of a new housing development was marked with a tree planting. The £52.5 million Muirton regeneration project has taken 12 years to complete and included demolishing 564 homes – predominantly tenement flats and building 409 brand new ones.
This includes 180 homes for affordable rent through Caledonia Housing Association and 84 for affordable rent through Fairfield Housing Co-operative at Muirton Park, named after the old St Johnstone ground which once stood on the site. And in addition, 46 of the homes have been sold through the Scottish Government’s shared equity scheme and 101 developed for private sale by Urban Union.
The completion was marked on Monday March 11 when young Alfie Smullen, who lives in one of the Fairfield Housing Co-operative homes, planted a blossom tree in Carnegie Place play area. He was helped by housing minister Kevin Steward, Chief Executive of Caledonia Housing Association Julie Cosgrove and Caledonia Housing Association’s chairperson Penny Coburn.
Speaking at the event, Julie Cosgrove said: “We are immensely proud of the regeneration of Muirton. This regeneration project hasn’t just been about building houses but also about restoring a sense of community and reinvigorating the area.”
“Before the regeneration started the area suffered from poor housing, low demand and high levels of anti-social behaviour. Now there is high demand for the quality housing that has been built and we see a community that’s much more settled.”
The regeneration project’s long-term goals were to revitalise the area, as there had previously been high levels of unemployment and deprivation. It is hoped the new community will give residents a sense of pride and engagement, with community flats, neighbourhood play areas and an electric car sharing club.
Cllr Peter Barrett, convener of housing and communities at Perth and Kinross Council, said: “The transformation of Muirton Park has been profound. The difference is not just physical even though the look and feel of the neighbourhood is now completely different – there is a strong sense of community.”
Cllr Barrett, who also represents the Muirton area at the local authority, continued: “There is a complete mix of tenures: council, Caledonia and Fairfield housing, shared equity, social rented, mid-market rent and private ownership where previously we had a monolithic council house estate of hard to let houses.