Covid dents West Lothian Council's homes plan

The Covid lockdown of 2020 will put a dent in West Lothian’s plan to deliver 3,000 homes by March next year.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 3:13 pm
Councillor Chris Horne.
Councillor Chris Horne.

But given the uncertainties and total stoppage on building work in the first lockdown last March the fallout could have been much worse. Responding to questions on the timetable for West Lothian Council’s affordable homes plans officers assured councillors that the 3,000 figure could be met by Summer 2023.

Conservative Chris Horne said he was keen to see how much progress there had been on the strategy which was launched in 2012.

In a report to the council executive Marjory Mackie, housing strategy and development manager, said that from 2012 to the end of March this year 2,254 affordable homes have been built and/or acquired which represents 75 per cent of the 3,000 target.

She added that contract committed homes would taken the figure to more than 90 per cent of the 3,000 by March 2022.

In her report Miss Mackie added: “Whilst the 3,000 units are expected to either be completed, under construction or have contracts awarded, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the timescales for affordable housing delivery throughout Scotland and the above table illustrates the scale of the shortfall.

“At present, West Lothian Council is projected to complete approximately 91 per cent of the original portion of the overall total (1,906 from 2,094) with the Registered Social Landord (RSL) community delivering 84 per cent of its share. The overall programme is projected to complete 90 per cent of the target of 3,000 units by March 2022, with the remaining 10 per cent completed by Summer 2023.”

Almost 300 ex-council properties have been bought back as part of the programme.

The report added: “It is estimated that the impact across all programmes of work could be between six and twelve months due to a range of issues, namely the initial lockdown of sites, furloughed staff and ongoing restrictions to site operations.

“At present, the overall programme is projected to complete 90 per cent of the target of 3,000 units by March 2022, with the remaining 10 per cent completed by late summer 2023.”