RESIDENTS have been handed the keys to a £24million housing develop-ment by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Some 201 homes have now been completed at Scotland's largest single housing association project, in Laurieston.

It marks the first milestone of the £100m regeneration of the South Side community by New Gorbals Housing Association (NGHA).

Ms Sturgeon said: "Regenerating Scot-land's most disadvan-taged communities is a key priority for the Scottish Government.

"This new housing development in Lauries-ton is fantastic and a major step in the right direction.

"It shows just how effective partnership working can be in regen-erating communities."

One new resident receiving her keys from the Deputy First Minister was Annie O'Donnell, 76. Annie is the longest-standing resident of Norfolk Court - the area's last remaining tower block - having moved there in April 1976.

The regeneration of Laurieston, one of the most densely populated areas of the Gorbals, has been in the pipeline for the past 20 years.

Liz Cameron, chair-woman of Transforming Communities: Glasgow and Glasgow City Council's executive member for business and the economy, added: "The exemplary design procured by NGHA will set the tone for what is sure to become one of the city centre's most desirable urban neigh-bourhoods, providing high quality homes across a range of affordability levels."

NGHA chairman Raymond Shannon said: "It is fitting that the biggest grant-funded social housing handover is in the Gorbals.

"Our community is now responsible for the design, building and management of such projects and that is what will make this regeneration a long-term success."

The second phase, set to begin in September, will include 69 new homes for sale by Urban Union and 39 for mid-market rent by NGHA.

A third phase is also in the pipeline - a further 55 new homes at the corner of Eglinton Street and Cumberland Street.