Work has started on a £1 billion construction project that aims to bring hundreds of jobs to West Lothian, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil confirmed today.
Around 3,450 new homes and a mixture of business, shopping and community facilities will emerge from the 900 acre site over the next fifteen years.
In its first phase, the development at Winchburgh, near Broxburn, is expected to support 300 new jobs annually.
A community benefit clause agreed with developers will trigger a £1.27 million contribution towards West Lothian Council’s cost in extending Linlithgow Academy, which was completed last year.
Visiting Winchburgh, Mr Neil cut the first turf to signal the start of the development. He said:
“The Scottish Government has always argued that investing in our infrastructure is one of the primary ways to create jobs and stimulate growth in our economy.
“Last week, the CBI echoed that view highlighting the important role that the construction sector plays as a job-creator and key player in infrastructure renewal.
“As one of Scotland’s largest construction projects, this development in West Lothian illustrates how co-operation between the public and private sector can benefit the local community and stimulate the wider economy.
“I am also pleased that the project managers, Sigma Capital, including their first phase contractors, Realm Construction, have pledged to employ as many local people as possible as the development proceeds.”
Welcoming the investment, Michael Levack, Chief Executive of the Scottish Building Federation, said it would “create hundreds of much-needed jobs” and added:
“Latest ONS figures published last week [July 13th] show that construction remains one of the hardest-hit areas of the economy, with output down 7.4 per cent. As a key driver of the Scottish economy, a recovery in construction is essential for sustainable economic growth.
“The Scottish Building Federation strongly supports the Scottish Government’s ambitions to bring forward capital investment in ‘shovel ready’ projects wherever possible.”
Allan Lundmark, Director of Planning of industry body Homes for Scotland said:
“Today’s announcement enables the home building industry to deliver a significant number of new homes in West Lothian, as well as demonstrating the potential to make a difference across a range of key areas which are crucial to the sector’s on-going recovery.
“We wish to congratulate the project managers, Sigma Capital, and West Lothian Council for committing to effective partnership working in order to achieve the same aims: the creation of jobs and facilities for the local community, much-needed new housing stock and a boost to economic growth.”