Demolition and regeneration helps to rebuild Dundee area’s future

New-build houses with the flats due to be demolished in the background

As the walls came tumbling down, a patchwork of wallpaper reminded onlookers of bygone eras in this Dundee block of flats.

But it was actually a huge step into the future for the Mill o’ Mains estate as derelict homes were razed to the ground to make way for new developments.

At the same time, just a couple of miles away, plans were unveiled for 26 new homes on disused land at the heart of Whitfield.

The proposed development in Whitfield
The proposed development in Whitfield

The family properties would surround The Crescent — itself a symbol of the area’s revitalisation with its shops and community facilities.

These are just two of the latest steps in the ongoing regeneration of the north-east of the city — a rolling programme of private and public investment which has been sustained for more than a decade.

According to locals, these are communities which are very much on the up.

George Roberts, chairman of the Whitfield Development Group, has spent nearly half a century working in the community.

He believes the north-east is on its way to becoming a first-class area for future generations.

The 77-year-old said: “The regeneration of The Crescent, and what they’ve done with Lothian Crescent, is excellent.

“The new homes are so important because housing is still a big problem.

“You can definitely see it’s had a positive impact on people — there is more here for them.

“For me personally, during 49 years living in Whitfield I’ve seen ups and downs but I’d say it is an area which is definitely improving.”

Councillor Brian Gordon, who represents the area, believes the authorities are no longer papering over the cracks of the north-east’s social problems.

He said: “Both Whitfield and Mill o’ Mains are definitely now areas on the up thanks to the regeneration work.

“There are far more homes in these areas and that’s been hugely important in improving things.

“I can see that it’s making a huge difference to people in these areas already.

“We’ve got a couple of hundred more kids in the school and there are more jobs going to people from the north-east area at these building sites and the new units.

“The regeneration is happening across the whole of the north-east and I don’t think it’s something that will just stop after a while.”

Although a year behind schedule, the demolition project at Mill o’ Mains is now in its fourth phase.

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The colourful walls (above) revealed by the bulldozer were in Hebrides Drive, where modern housing will be built.

Jim Malone, chairman of the estate’s tenants’ and residents’ association, said: “The biggest issue is the time it has taken and residents have had to put up with absolute chaos.

“We’ve had a lot of problems since 2009 but on the up-side the quality of housing is good and it will definitely make it a more attractive area to live in.”

Plans for new homes at disused Dundee site

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