Housing provider Sanctuary has handed over the last of the 132 homes built on the site of St Mirren FC’s former Love Street stadium.
The £17 million development has created a new community and brought life to an area that was Paisley’s heart and soul.
James Fryar was once a ball boy at the Love Street stadium, patrolling the touchline where his new home now stands.
The 81-year-old was welcomed ‘home’ by St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick, one of four former players who have had a street named after them at the development.
James, who has a two-bedroom house, said: “The Love Street stadium held so many special memories for me so to live on the site is fantastic.
“It’s fitting my back garden’s where I stood as a ball boy more than 70 years ago.
“My house is great and the whole development already has a sense of community. I’m glad to be back.”
Like James, Helen Tervit and her dog Ella moved into a two-bedroom house.
The retired care officer, 65, said: “I love my home. It’s spacious, the rooms are nice and there’s a toilet upstairs and downstairs.
Photo: Sanctuary tenant Helen Tervit and Cllr Marie McGurk
“It’s the first time I’ve had a front and back door in 50 years. Ella enjoys the back garden as much as me.”
Sanctuary built the development in partnership with the Scottish Government and Renfrewshire Council. A £10 million grant from the Scottish Government made the project possible.
Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s communities, housing & planning policy board, said: “It was lovely to meet the residents and see them enjoying life in their new homes. Sanctuary has completed a fantastic housing development which has brought new life to an area much loved by St Mirren supporters and I’m really pleased that the development has more than a nod or two to that proud past.
“Through close working with housing association partners we’re on track to build 1000 affordable homes by 2021, providing high quality homes designed to meet both current local needs and those of future generations.”
Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association manages the 103 houses built for social rent. The remaining 29 homes were sold through the Scottish Government’s new supply shared equity scheme.
Pat Cahill, the director of Sanctuary Scotland, said: “It’s heart-warming to see how well our new homes have been received.”
St Mirren’s last game at Love Street was a goalless draw against Motherwell on 3 January 2009. The club officially moved into the new St Mirren Park 18 days later.
Photo: St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick and Sanctuary tenant James Fryar