Celebrating residents have been quick to acknowledge the help of a volunteer advocate in a successful 18-month fight to avoid losing their homes.
The tenants of 92 flats in Lorne Street, Leith, Edinburgh, had feared eviction after their landlord, The Miss Agnes Hunter Trust, said the cost associated with the properties was diverting funds from causes it had been set up to support.
The trust planned to sell the flats, but met opposition from the Lorne Community Association. It has now been announced that the flats are to pass to Places for People Scotland, a subsidiary of Castle Rock Edinvar, one of Scotland’s leading housing associations and a registered charity.
David Cobb, Advocate, assisted the 150 tenants on a pro bono basis after being put in touch with them through the charity, Inspiring Scotland.
Melanie Weigang, secretary of Lorne Community Association, said: “David Cobb provided essential legal and strategic advice to the association at a crucial time, which turned out to be the turning point of our campaign. We are very grateful for his dedicated support of our cause and it was great comfort to have David by our side.”
Mr Cobb had looked into the possibility of a community buy-out of the properties, and when he advised that this would be a non-starter, he attended meetings to consider other options, and the possibility of a housing association take-over began to emerge.
He said: “I was pleased to assist the Lorne Community Association during a very difficult and stressful time for the tenants, many of whom had lived there for significant parts of their lives.
“The tenants should be congratulated for their excellent campaign to remain, and a real way in which pro bono legal input can be effective is where it helps to identify a positive solution.”