Livingston housing project wins town centre living accolade

Livingston housing project wins town centre living accolade

STP chair Professor Leigh Sparks (centre) collecting the Town Centre Living Award from event host Sean Batty and Alison Jones of Scotland Loves Local

A development which has created almost 150 homes in the heart of Livingston was one of the winners at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.

West Lothian Council and Wheatley Group picked up the Town Centre Living Award for its Almondvale Court project.

It has seen a former brownfield site transformed into 146 homes - 120 for social rent with the other 26 available for rental at a mid-market rate.

The development - a mixture of one two and three-bedroom flats - includes 45 Livingwell homes, provided by Wheatley Care to help older tenants live happily, healthily and secure in their own homes for longer.

Awards judges heard: “The development provides much needed high quality affordable housing in the heart of Livingston town centre.

“Our Livingwell customers benefit from a residents lounge where they can socialise with their neighbours and take part in activities which both helps to encourage a community feel as well as combating loneliness.

“The proximity to the shopping centre has been hugely beneficial in enabling some customers to thrive independently.”

The runners-up in the Town Centre Living Award were Highland Housing Association’s transformation of Merchant House in Inverness.

The historic 18th century, B-listed building, located against the backdrop of Inverness Castle, had fallen into a state of disrepair, causing an eyesore for the community before its conversion into eight much-needed rental opportunities for local residents. It also has commercial space on the property’s ground floor to become home to a local business - a deli.

Simon Square in Edinburgh - a development by Fraser / Livingstone Architects - was also a runner up.

It is a traditional tenement built in a contemporary way, out of healthy, vapour-open, carbon-locking solid structural timber. The six-flat scheme is highly regarded as an example of contemporary town centre living, which provides density with amenity and promotes wellbeing and a climate friendly future by providing healthy and pleasant living environments for its occupants.

Organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the Scotland Loves Local Awards reward remarkable work taking place to improve communities, from tackling the climate emergency and encouraging enterprise to transforming streets and creating great places to live.

Television presenter Sean Batty, who hosted the awards at V&A Dundee on Tuesday, said: “The dedication and drive shown by all of our finalists to deliver for their community is simply amazing. The difference they make - day in, day out - is incredible.”

STP chair, Professor Leigh Sparks, added: “Everyone nominated for a Scotland Loves Local Award is playing their part in creating a better future for their community.

“We should be proud of them all, as we should of all the unsung heroes working every day across the country. Their vision, determination, entrepreneurship and creativity is exactly what we need to create a stronger Scotland with more sustainable places in which to live, work and visit.

“Thanks to all of our supporters and sponsors for making these awards possible.”

STP is the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign, supported by the Scottish Government.

Scotland Loves Local Awards 2023: Roll of honour

Climate and Net Zero Community, supported by Business Stream and Green Action Trust

  • Winner: Dalrymple, Skeldon and Hollybush Steering Group
  • Runner-up: Gauchalland East Community Gardens, Galston
  • Runner-up: Ibrox Commons, Glasgow

Creative Community, supported by Creative Scotland

  • Winner: Vibrant Gala Project, Galashiels
  • Runner-up: Art Night, Dundee
  • Runner-up: Scene Stirling

Digital, supported by Commsworld and Miconex

  • Winner: Forres Local, Moray Media CIC
  • Runner-up: “Like a Local” campaign, Forth Valley Food and Drink
  • Runner-up:, Inverurie

Enterprising Communities

  • Winner: GALE Centre, Gairloch
  • Runner-up: Include Me 2 Club, Barrhead
  • Runner-up: The Furniture Project, Stranraer

Judges’ Special Award for supporting the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card (joint winners)

  • Ewan Eccleston and Ivonne Hamilton, Glasgow City Council
  • Kirsty Shand, Moray Council

Place Leader, supported by Message Matters

  • Winner: Diane Brown, Alloa First
  • Runner-up: Ross Grant, Aberdeen Inspired
  • Runner-up: Dr Michael Gray, Energise Galashiels

Streets and Spaces, supported by Sustrans

  • Winner: Craigie Street Pocket Park, Dundee
  • Runner-up: Gateway to Strathclyde Country Park, Bellshill
  • Runner-up: Inchyra Park, Grangemouth

Town Centre Living

  • Winner: Almondvale Court, Livingston (West Lothian Council and The Wheatley Group)
  • Runner-up: Merchant House, Inverness (Highland Housing Association)
  • Runner-up: Simon Square, Edinburgh (Fraser / Livingstone Architects)

High Street Hero

  • Winner: Gordon McDonald, Buckie Action Group
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