Community Council fears over housing

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A Community Council has raised fears over a lack of housing development in the area and it insists the current position is “unsustainable”.

As it stands only small scale developments in Linlithgow have been approved such as housing for over 55s, single plots and one bedroom flats – and West Lothian Council have said that position will not change until an education solution is in place.

The community council claim that few properties in the town are within the reach of those on modest incomes, including a younger generation who have lived and grown up in the area.

The town’s future housing development seemingly hinges on whether the high school in Winchburgh is built to ease the increasing pressure on the capacity at Linlithgow Academy.

Based on West Lothian Council 2015 roll forecasts of secondary schools, the Academy will become over capacity in 2019-20 and will remain so until 2024.

As part of the massive regeneration project in Winchburgh, developers have agreed to build 550 homes in the area as part of phase one of the project – due to be completed by the end of 2018. The masterplan includes 3450 houses including affordable housing.

But phase two of the housing project will not begin until the funding is in place to build the school.

The school has to be funded by the house builders under the terms of the legal agreement set out at the site but they are having issues forward funding the capital needed which is estimated to be at least £25 million.

West Lothian Council are exploring ways to bridge that gap.

The community council believe this impasse has not changed over the last year and it has led to fears from the group that the development may stall.

John Kelly, vice-chairperson of the community council, said: “We do need more development in Linlithgow. Development has been stagnating for the best part of 20 years. There has been a policy of planning restraint.

“There have been 480 houses built in that period of time. There has been no plan for the development of Linlithgow.

“The current planning restraint will continue until the new Winchburgh Academy accepts pupils.

“Meanwhile the grown up children of residents of Linlithgow, will need to find somewhere else to live with all the damaging social consequences this implies. The current situation is not sustainable.”