Covid hits West Lothian affordable homes plan

Plans to deliver 3,000 affordable homes with West Lothian within 10 years have been hit by Covid.

By Stuart Sommerville, LDR
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 11:34 am
Updated Thursday, 30th December 2021, 11:34 am
Stock photo.
Stock photo.

But despite the impact of the Covid pandemic, housing officials believe that the target can be met by 2023 – roughly a year behind schedule.

A report to the council’s Services for the Community Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) said that by March next year, the 10 year deadline, the target will be 89 per cent complete, including projects completed or under way. And they believe the remaining 11 per cent could be completed by summer 2023.

Most of the affordable homes will be new builds, although the council has augmented its programme, especially in towns such as Armadale, with buybacks of former council properties.

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The report to PDSP by Development Manager, Grant Walker said that since the start of 2012/13, 2,308 affordable homes have been delivered, and a further 516 are currently under construction.

A further 253 homes are planned for site start during 2021/22 including a number of sites for new build council housing, developments by Registered Social Landlords and buybacks.

Mr Walker said: “Whilst the 3,000 units are expected to either be completed, under construction or have contracts awarded, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent supplies and resources issues has affected the time scales for affordable housing delivery throughout Scotland.

“It is estimated that the impact across all programmes of work is likely to be twelve months or more due to a range of issues, namely the initial lockdown of sites, furloughed staff and ongoing issues with supply of materials and labour to site operations.”

Sites scheduled to start in the next 12 months will see new homes being built on the site of the former swimming pool in Mid Street , and Marjoribanks Street in Bathgate – a total of 11 homes.

Plans for another 59 homes at a site in Wester Inch could also add to the Bathgate total.

In Livingston, construction will start on around 40 affordable homes at the Wellhead site in Murieston.​​​​​​​