City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Sighthill Gets Ready To Blow Highrises to the Ground

By edg - Posted on 21 September 2011

Sighthill Towers competition

The demolition of three multi-storey flats in North Sighthill is scheduled to go ahead this Sunday between 11am and noon.

Hermiston, Weir and Glenalmond Courts in Sighthill are being demolished as part of the City of Edinburgh Council's redevelopment of the area, which will see up to 320 new homes for sale and rent, half of which will be affordable housing.

The demolition will be shown live on the Stevenson College website and after the towers come down will also be shown on the Council’s YouTube channel.

Nine-year-old Lewis Reynolds (pictured), who won a poster competition for the demolition of the three tower blocks, will push the plunger on the explosive charges along with local resident Maureen Murdoch and Councillor Norman Work, Vice Convenor of the Health, Social Care and Housing Committee.

Local pupils were asked to design a poster following a presentation on safety issues around the site by demolition contractors Safedem with the winning artist landing the prize of pushing the plunger.

Lewis said he "can't wait to push the button to demolish the tower blocks. It’s going to be great fun.”

William Sinclair, Managing Director of Safedem, said, "Our Community Liaison Officers regularly visit schools to present safety information about our demolition sites. The pupils were really enthusiastic and put a huge effort into the competition.

“We will still be on site for several months after the buildings are demolished and it’s extremely important that the children continue to be fully aware of being safe around the demolition site."

An exclusion zone will be set up on September 25 so the demolition can be carried out safely. A local rest centre will be set up for the residents who have to leave their homes nearby.

Some roads near the buildings will be closed, parking restrictions will be in place and there will be some disruption to local bus services.

"New dawn" for West Edinburgh

Mrs Christine Notman, 54 years, lived on the eighth floor of Glenalmond Court for 18 years and was one of the last residents to move out of the blocks.

She said: "I grew up in Sighthill so it's a mixture of gladness and feeling sorry that they are being taken down as there were lovely views and it was quiet. Our neighbours were all nice and you got to know the different people going up in the lifts.

"But I think it's a good thing the tower blocks are being taken down, especially for people with kids as they will now have more room. They were a bit of an eye-sore from the outside, but the flats were nicer inside and the sitting room was really big."

Edinburgh's Housing Leader, Councillor Paul Edie, goes further: "This demolition heralds a new dawn for the regeneration of west Edinburgh with new council homes set to replace the old multi-storeys."

The 21st Century Homes project will see up to 1,300 new homes being built in Gracemount, North Sighthill, and Pennywell and Muirhouse, where older housing has been demolished to make way for the new homes.

The new mixed tenure communities will comprise 50% affordable housing (30% council homes for rent, 10% mid rent, 10% low cost home ownership) with the remainder for private sale.

The new homes, worth up to £150 million, will be the first Council homes built in the city for a generation.

The first new Council homes to be built will be in Gracemount where families are expected to move into early 2012.