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Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 09:33 GMT
Subsidence residents receive cash boost
Moredun Park
Help for the residents will come from Scottish Homes
Householders forced to evacuate their homes after they began sinking into the ground have been given a boost as 500,000 is made available to buy them accommodation.

The government-run housing association Scottish Homes has given the grant to Edinburgh City Council for it to buy property in the south of the city and rent it out to evacuees.

It is hoped the grant may be matched by the private sector, making 1m available to buy 20 homes.

More than 300 people in the Gilmerton area have been told they must leave their homes because of fears they may collapse.

It is hoped up to 20 extra homes can be bought
Limestone workings in the area have already led to 35 homes being demolished in Ferniehill Terrace and more are expected to be bulldozed.

Earlier this week, an independent inquiry team was set up to look at the reasons behind the decision to build the houses on top of former mine works in the 1960s.

Edinburgh City Council housing director Mark Turley welcomed the cash from Scottish Homes.

He said a community housing association would be formed in the area with the responsibility of renting out the homes bought with the grant.

Mr Turley said: "This should help people selling houses in the area who have had difficulty finding buyers because of the publicity surrounding subsidence in the south of the city."

Raft of measures

Council leader Donald Anderson described the scheme as "a start" and said the council was also in talks with the Scottish Executive aimed at securing more money.

Stuart Nichol, Scottish Homes managing director in Lothian, Borders and the Forth Valley, confirmed the funding package and said it would pay for between 10 and 15 homes for evacuees.

He added: "We're very keen to help in whatever way we can, which is why we have allocated this funding to provide houses for people who have had to leave their homes in the area.

"We expect that the money will help to buy 10 to 15 homes. Many more houses will be required and this is just one part of a package of measures being put together to cope with the problem."

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See also:

22 Mar 01 | Scotland
Hundreds face city evacuation
01 Mar 01 | Scotland
Capital evacuations get under way
01 Mar 01 | Scotland
City clearance deadline extended
15 Dec 00 | Scotland
Residents flee sinking homes
22 Nov 00 | Scotland
Subsidence inquiry launched
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