by a Newsnet Reporter
Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir has called on the Ministry of Defence to use funds raised from the sale of army sites in order to help alleviate the capital’s housing problem.
The decision to move out of the city to a site in West Lothian will see the Ministry of Defence sell sites last publicly valued at over £70 million.
Cllr Keir is writing to the Ministry of Defence and the Scottish Government and will discuss with Edinburgh Council the prospect of seeing some of the MoD properties made available to the council or housing associations for use and conversion to social housing.
Colin Keir said:
“The Ministry of Defence’s decision to leave Edinburgh leaves a hole in large parts of the city and in city life. Edinburgh has always supported the army and they are a regular presence in the west of the city.
“The UK Treasury values these sites at £70 million and intends to use that money to pay down the UK’s debt. I want to see some contribution made to Edinburgh and to the people of the city.”
Ministry of Defence accommodation in Edinburgh comprises family houses and barracks. Cllr Keir’s plans would see both of these converted into good quality housing in Edinburgh he says would help meet the housing shortage in the city.
According to official figures 16,000 homes will be needed over the next 10 years to bridge the housing shortfall in the capital. The Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh are currently investing in new homes, new council houses and supporting investment by housing associations.
Mr Keir claimed that a contribution from the MoD could make an extra boost in these efforts and insisted that local people should benefit from the army’s departure.
“As agencies across the city look to ways to deal with the MoD’s departure I have written to the Ministry of Defence to see if they will discuss this idea and to Scotland’s Housing Minister Keith Brown for the Scottish Government’s assistance in bringing some benefit to the residents of Edinburgh and to Edinburgh’s veterans from the Ministry of Defence’s decision to leave.”