£5.8m development boosts quality of life for Edinburgh’s frail and elderly



Eileen and Brian Stemp (centre), two of the development's phase one residents, in their new flat with Ian Watson, Master of The Merchant Company of Edinburgh’s Endowments Trust  - one of the project's main backers (left) and Mike Afshar (right), chairman of The Merchant Company’s Frail and Elderly Committee
Eileen and Brian Stemp (centre), two of the development’s phase one residents, in their new flat with Ian Watson, Master of The Merchant Company of Edinburgh’s Endowments Trust - one of the project’s main backers (left) and Mike Afshar (right), chairman of The Merchant Company’s Frail and Elderly Committee

A £5.8 million housing development built to enhance the quality of life for the frail and elderly in Edinburgh is now complete.

Merchant’s Court in Little Road, Liberton has been built to suit older people wishing to live independently and has been delivered through a unique partnership between Dunedin Canmore Housing Association and The City of Edinburgh Council.

The development of forty eight flats provides rented accommodation for a range of elderly tenants, including the disabled. Lift access is provided to all floors and the properties are highly insulated to be extremely fuel efficient. A large glazed common room is provided in each block for the use of all residents to meet socially, thus helping to prevent isolation and loneliness.

Merchants’ Court has been built in two phases with the first phase of 32 flats completed in May 2014 and officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal in September 2014. The second phase of a further block of 16 flats completed in March 2015 will see its first tenants move in later this month.

The development is the successful culmination of a partnership between The Merchant Company of Edinburgh’s Endowments Trust, The City of Edinburgh Council, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association and J.Smart & Co (Contractors) PLC.

Merchants’ Court is owned by The Merchant Company and is leased to Dunedin Canmore Housing Association for social and mid-market rent tenants.

Commenting on the new development, Ian Watson, the Master of The Merchant Company, said: “Merchants’ Court is an admirable example of what can be achieved by partnership of organisations in the private and public sector. Edinburgh has an acute shortage of affordable housing with a particular shortage for the over 55 age group where there is a great need for independent living.

“The development would not have possible without the commitment to partnership working from Edinburgh City Council, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association and J.Smart & Co (Contractors) PLC.

“It has brought The Merchant Company’s contribution to homes for the frail and elderly to 85 in the City and we are looking for further opportunities.”

Mrs Eileen Stemp, who moved in to one of the flats in Phase One last year, said: “Merchants’ Court is a nice place to live with excellent views and good neighbours. We are delighted with the property.”

Dunedin Canmore’s chief executive, Ewan Fraser, added: “We are delighted with the success of this new approach to offer mid-rent properties for the 55+ age group – providing the type of modern housing that continues to meet people’s needs as they grow older is an innovative alternative to ‘sheltered’ housing that allows people to continue an independent lifestyle.”

The Dunedin Canmore Group has put forward Phase 1 of Merchants’ Court for the Homes for Scotland Awards 2015 under the category of Best Partnership in Affordable Housing Delivery.



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