Council leader sees new WLHP homes in Livingston take shape
The leader of West Lothian Council, Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick, saw for himself how West Lothian Housing Partnership (WLHP) is transforming communities.
WLHP, part of Wheatley Group, has built 146 new homes in Almondvale Court in Livingston town centre.
This week Councillor Fitzpatrick saw some of the new homes for himself – and met some tenants excited to be moving in.
Almondvale Court is made up of 66 social rent and 26 mid-market rent flats, as well as ten supported flats for Wheatley Care, WLHP’s partners in Wheatley Group. The development also includes 45 Livingwell homes, the group’s service – provided by Wheatley Care – to support older tenants to live independently. Almondvale Court is WLHP’s biggest development.
The homes, a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats, are in a prime site in Livingston, next to a popular shopping area, and on the site of a former police station that was demolished in 2017.
Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “I was delighted to have been invited to visit the new WLHP site at Almondvale Court.
“I was the founding chair of WLHP two decades ago and am totally enthused by the high quality and impressive layout design of the development which brings a further 146 homes to Livingston.
“The opening of this development represents a significant boost to increasing the availability of social housing in the Livingston area. It was a pleasure to meet with the new tenants to hear their stories and I’m sure they will enjoy life at this prominent location.
“With demand for social housing high in the Livingston area, the construction of these new homes comes as West Lothian is in the midst of one of the most ambitious social housing programmes in the country, with West Lothian Council working in conjunction with WLHP and other Registered Social Landlords to deliver over 2300 affordable homes since 2012.
“Access to housing can be transformative and the council remains committed to working with partners to ensure that high quality social housing is available for the people of West Lothian.”
WLHP tenant Margaret Smith, 78, is moving into a Livingwell home in Almondvale Court next month – and says she can’t wait. Margaret, who’s been living with her daughter Alice in Blackburn since the start of the pandemic, commented: “I can’t wait to be independent and live in my own home. I’m so excited.
“I’ve also said to Alice that I’ll be having carpets, not wooden floors. I’m looking forward to meeting the other people who live there too.
“WLHP is the best housing association I’ve been involved with – and I’m eternally grateful to be moving into my forever home.”
Wheatley Group chief executive Martin Armstrong, added: “I was delighted to show the council leader our new development at Almondvale Court. New homes can help change people’s lives, and the energy-efficient features of these homes will help us cut our carbon footprint and help tenants save money on fuel bills too.
“New homes make a real difference to communities too, and we’re grateful to be working with our partners at West Lothian Council to help meet the great demand for affordable homes across the area.”
The £17.6m Almondvale Court project includes a £9.2m Scottish Government grant and the developer is the Cruden Group.
Steven Simpson, managing director of Cruden Homes East, said: “We are pleased to continue the Cruden Group’s strong working relationship with Wheatley in delivering this landmark development of sustainable, quality and affordable new homes for WLHP in Livingston.
“At Cruden, we pride ourselves on giving back to the local communities that we build in. On this project, we brought important benefits to the local area, including new jobs, work placement opportunities, trade apprenticeships and a graduate role.”
The first tenants should be moving into Almondvale Court next month.