Work underway on Scotland’s largest net zero housing development

L-R the City of Edinburgh Council’s programme director for the Edinburgh Waterfront, Sat Patel; City of Edinburgh Council’s housing, homelessness, and fair work convener, councillor Jane Meagher; and CCG’s MD, David Wylie

GROUND has been broken at Scotland’s largest net zero housing development in the Granton area of Edinburgh.

It marks the start of construction works at the £72 million Western Villages project, which forms part of the wider £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront regeneration blueprint.

Main contractors, CCG, were joined by architect, Cooper Cromar, and City of Edinburgh Council councillor, Jane Meagher, to mark the beginning of works.

The 444-home development will consist of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, including wheelchair-accessible ground floor dwellings, available in a mix of social rent (195), mid-market rent (193), and private sale tenures (56) each of which will benefit from ‘stunning’ parkland and sea views.

To achieve net zero carbon, all homes will be constructed using advanced construction methods to improve thermal performance. Delivered by an on-site energy centre containing air-source heat pumps and renewable technologies such as solar PV panels, the low carbon heat system and zero emissions strategy is being supported by £4.1 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s low carbon infrastructure transition programme.

Complemented by carbon offsetting measures, the ‘pioneering’ approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been developed by CCG in partnership with energy and sustainability consultancy, Carbon Futures. Sustainability credentials will be further enhanced by a reduction in car usage, provision of electric vehicle charging, and increased emphasis on active travel to lower the development’s carbon footprint over the longer term.

Set for completion in 2024, the homes for rent will be managed by the City of Edinburgh Council, whilst the private homes will be led by CCG Homes.

CCG MD, David Wylie, said, “CCG’s contribution to the regeneration of Granton is significant with over 500 homes set to be under construction by the middle of this year. Western Villages, alongside a further 75 homes with the Council at Waterfront Avenue (known as Granton D1, the first pilot project of the Edinburgh Homes Demonstrator initiative), will play a major role in the creation of this new coastal community and also help shape our understanding and capabilities of net zero housing delivery in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

“We are very proud to be pioneering applied research and development into net zero housebuilding to support our economy’s green ambitions whilst also ensuring that high-quality, highly energy efficient homes remain accessible to our communities.”

Councillor Jane Meagher, housing, homelessness, and fair work convener, added, “We are so proud to lead the country’s biggest net zero housing development and to break ground today. With an ambitious target to become a net zero city by 2030, this first phase of Granton Waterfront will act as a blueprint for future sustainable development and help Scotland transition towards a greener economy.

“This housing is going to provide hundreds of affordable homes, right at the centre of what will be Edinburgh’s newest neighbourhood – offering a fantastically lively, active, and sustainable waterfront lifestyle for everyone who moves in. People moving in will benefit from a real 20-minute neighbourhood, with great progress being made in our £1.3 billon wider regeneration project including a growing cultural and arts cluster in the area, after we announced works to refurbish the former Granton Station building into a creative workspace, as well as a new creative and community hub at 20 West Shore Road by Edinburgh Palette.

“It’s also great to see the iconic Granton Gasholder is being brought back to life – now illuminated in solidarity with Ukraine it is set to be fully restored and opened as a public amenity space.

“The operators of the Pitt Street market have also announced their plans to take up a new residence here, with more than half of all stalls to be led by start-ups and entrepreneurs, and we’re only going to see more and more new services, businesses and creative endeavours choose Granton. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for the city and for how we build new homes and new neighbourhoods and I look forward to seeing it all take shape.”