MORE than 100 affordable homes will have been delivered across East Lothian this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Tenants have been collecting keys to 25 new council houses which East Lothian Council took ownership of in Haddington in the last few months, with a further 12 on the same estate due to be handed over by the end of this year.

However, the local authority has revealed that despite the closure of construction sites for large parts of the year, it has continued to bring forward affordable housing.

SInce September, the council has also taken ownership of seven new homes in Dunbar and 12 at Pinkie, Musselburgh.

And during the year, six homes at Dovecot, Haddington, and 30 new homes at Limeylands, Ormiston, were handed over to East Lothian Housing Association for social rent.

An additional 12 new extra-care council houses at Elder Street, Tranent, are due to be handed over to East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

The latest handover of 25 homes at Letham Mains in Haddington, one of the largest new developments in East Lothian, includes two wheelchair-accessible homes.

Justine Holmes, who got the keys to her new home at Letham Mains in September, is delighted and says the move has been life-changing for her and her two children.

Justine, 33, said: “We have had a hard three years. I was made redundant and we lost our home as it was tied to my job. We spent a year in temporary accommodation and it was made even harder during lockdown as the property was really too small for our needs.

“We are so happy with our forever home. We no longer feel we are living on top of each other and the kids love having their beautiful garden – even if it is freezing.”

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for housing, said: “I was delighted to hear about the difference Justine’s new home has made to her and her family.

“East Lothian Council’s programme of investment in social housing is essential in making a difference to individuals and families who need high-quality, affordable accommodation.

“As East Lothian is one of the fastest growing local authorities in Scotland, councillors agreed earlier this year to spend more than £174 million over the next five years on building new council housing and modernising existing stock.

“We will continue to work with developers and housing associations to stay on track with our plans to deliver the maximum number of council houses, homes for social rent via housing associations, and low-cost home ownership opportunities.”

Hart Builders was responsible for construction of the new council houses on the Letham Mains site.

Gill Henry, business development director, said: “Hart Builders is delighted to have completed this first phase of development at Letham Mains and it is great to hear the residents are enjoying their new homes.

“We look forward to handing over the other 12 homes for more residents to settle in and enjoy in time for Christmas.

“The final phases of this high-quality affordable housing development for East Lothian Council will be completed early in the new year.”

Meanwhile, Touchstone, part of Castle Rock Edinvar, has taken ownership of four three-bed homes for mid-market rent in Gullane.

And in Cockenzie, six houses for veterans are expected to be handed over soon, with tenacies arranged through Veterans Housing Scotland.