Affordable homes bring village life to the city
A new Aberdeen housing project has made riverside living affordable for more than 200 families.
The 267-home Donside Village has been given the seal of approval from Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government and residents whose properties neighbour the nature-rich River Don.
Housing provider Tenants First created the £52million development on land formerly occupied by a paper mill.
Donside Village was designed to make life resident-friendly while retaining the convenience of being near central Aberdeen.
Yvonne and Jamie Duffield, plus the couple's three children, moved into a four-bedroom end-terrace townhouse last year.
Yvonne, 33, said: "We love living here. We were in a small three-bedroom house before moving here so this home's massive in comparison it's so spacious it's unreal.
"We've been in Donside Village since February 2013 and have been very impressed by the community spirit that exists.
"Residents are always arranging events which most people attend, most recently at Christmas when the kids sang carols and handed out hot chocolate. It's a great place to bring up a family."
In total, 146 Donside Village homes are available for social rent. The remaining 121 properties were sold to families keen to buy an affordable home. The properties range in size from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom townhouses. The keys to the last batch of homes were handed over in February.
The Scottish Government gave £25million in grant funding towards the project.
During a visit to Donside Village, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: "It is my belief that each and every one of us should live in a comfortable home which doesn't cost the earth to keep.
"These new homes are a welcome addition to the supply of affordable housing in Aberdeen. The Scottish Government's £25million funding to this development is making a real difference to people's lives in the Aberdeen area."
All Donside Village homes incorporate low-energy features pioneered by Tenants First.
This includes a closed panel construction method offering superior insulation properties, higher standards of air tightness and also energy-efficient components.
Councillor Neil Cooney, Aberdeen City Council's Housing and Environment Convener, said: "We were delighted to be able to support this project which has seen the old mill site transformed into a picturesque new community boasting affordable homes perfect for the modern family.
"Aberdeen City Council, like all local authorities, faces significant challenges in terms of housing, particularly affordable housing, but we remain fully committed to meeting the housing requirements and aspirations of our citizens.
"The delivery of affordable homes for the city is central to the council's Strategic Infrastructure Plan which aims to achieve a 'Step change in the supply of housing' by 2017.
"The Donside Village development will go some way to realising that ambition by giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to live in a beautiful riverside setting.
"I would like to thank Tenants First for their tireless efforts at Donside and look forward to what they achieve during the next phase of the development."
Tenants First is a member of Sanctuary Group, one of the UK's biggest social housing providers.
Tenants First's Director Gordon Laurie said: "We are proud to have worked with Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Government to produce these 267 homes.
"By consulting Donside Community Association on aspects like the development's child play areas, residents have also been able to influence the vision for Donside Village, a vibrant community of quality, affordable housing.
"It is rare to see such a picturesque neighbourhood so close to a busy city centre. We are currently developing plans for a second phase of Donside Village homes so more families can live here in future."