House cash is welcome

A building worker working on a new house.
A building worker working on a new house.
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A £9 million cash injection for affordable housing in West Lothian has been released by the Scottish Government but there are NO plans to build around Linlithgow.

It was confirmed this week that £9,109,000 would be spent in the region over the next three years, out of a £582 million Scotland-wide money pot, from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP). Falkirk Council will receive £9,194,000 and Edinburgh City Council gets £78,744,000.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “This will contribute towards our New Build Council Housing programme. A total of 545 affordable council homes are being built at eight sites across West Lothian costing £45 million.

‘‘A first phase consisting of 255 homes in Wester Inch, Boghall, Livingston and Whitburn, has been completed, taking the total tally of new council homes built in West Lothian to 800.

‘‘Each house has been designed with energy conservation in mind.”

In the second phase, 545 homes are being built in Armadale, Bathgate, Blackburn, Livingston, Uphall Station and Whitburn.

But at a recent public meeting to discuss development plans at Burghmuir, residents expressed frustration at the lack of affordable housing in Linlithgow, especially for first time buyers.

Figures show there are 2044 applicants on the housing list in Linlithgow, 1689 in Linlithgow Bridge, 1404 in Three-miletown, 1345 in Philpstoun, 1294 in Bridgend and 1282 in Newton.

However it is possible for one person to be on more than one list. The total number of individual applicants for affordable housing across West Lothian is 8757.

In the ‘Linlithgow Civic Trust Vision 2010-2013’, the group highlights the local need for social rented and affordable housing, as no social rented houses have been built in Linlithgow since council reorganisation in 1975.

Ron Smith of LCT said: “West Lothian Council’s recent programme of council house building has not included Linlithgow, mainly or partly because of the lack of suitable available sites.

‘‘This means a long waiting list for council housing in the town, which means that many people have had to settle for a house elsewhere.”

Scottish housing minister Keith Brown said housing would remain a priority and encouraged an energy conservation focus.

But Alan Brown of Transition Linlithgow said green credentials could be improved and all new homes should be built to a higher gold or platinum building standard, reducing emissions by at least 60 per cent, rather than the ‘silver’ level that only aims at 45 per cent emissions.