East Lothian Council unveils £220m housing and schools investment package

A significant package of capital investment in council housing and schools totalling more than £220 million is set to be delivered by East Lothian Council over the next five years.

Almost £93m will be spent on new affordable council housing in addition to almost £60m on the modernisation of existing properties.

New homes are expected to be completed at Haddington and Dunbar during 2018/19 with further developments planned for Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Aberlady, Gullane, Ormiston, Musselburgh and Haddington.

The purchase of some homes for sale on the open market will also continue.

Meanwhile, there will be a rolling programme of improvements to existing council houses. This includes refurbishments of bathrooms, kitchens and roofing and the installation of energy efficiency measures – in an effort to help reduce fuel poverty.

Jim Goodfellow, cabinet spokesperson for housing, said: “I’m very proud of the council’s record on housing. In the last five years, we have delivered 370 new council houses and increased expenditure on modernisation.

“With East Lothian being a fantastic place to live, it’s vital that we build on this track record and continue to invest in housing to meet the demands of our communities.

“East Lothian Council tenants already benefit from one of the lowest average weekly rents in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that, in the next year, a number of new council homes are expected to be completed – providing high-quality accommodation for families and individuals. This is part of a significant £93m investment in new council housing over the next five years, which will see the construction of homes throughout the county.

“With further developments planned, this is excellent news for those seeking a council house and also for the economy, as it will require the involvement of firms including the construction industry.

“At the same time, we are committed to improving our existing housing stock, and will be investing almost £60m in the modernisation of council homes throughout the county. This includes an increased focus on energy efficiency measures – helping to make tenants’ homes warmer and cheaper to heat, helping to reduce fuel poverty.”

Projects in the £227m package of investment in new, improved or expanded schools include:

  • Around £7.9m for the extension of North Berwick High School
  • Around £8.8m for the extension of Ross High School, Tranent
  • £34m for an additional secondary school to serve the Musselburgh area

  • Around £500,000 for a facilities upgrade at the existing Musselburgh Grammar School
  • Around £8.8m for the Letham Mains Primary School, Haddington
  • Around £8.6m for the new Blindwells Primary School
  • Around £5.2m for an extension at Whitecraig Primary School

  • Around £3.3m for the extension of Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School and Early learning and Childcare Centre
  • Spending has been earmarked for extensions at Dunbar, East Linton, Aberlady, Gullane. Elphinstone, Prestonpans Infants and Pencaitland Primary Schools and Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans.

    There are also resources for ongoing extensions at Dunbar Grammar, Law Primary School and the construction of a new Wallyford Primary School, which are well underway.

    There is £300,000 for additional space at the Meadowpark Communications Provision, Knox Academy, Haddington. In addition, the council’s revenue budget allocates £225,000 of revenue expenditure between 2019-21 associated with Meadowpark.

    Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education, added: “I’m delighted that the council will be delivering such a significant investment in new, improved or expanded schools across East Lothian. This will benefit thousands of children, while helping us to meet demand for school paces in growing communities.

    “Our schools have a hugely significant role to play in helping to give children the best possible start in life. A high-quality learning environment is key to this.”

    The investment figures in the budget reflect the total five-year capital value of the projects and developer contributions are sought where appropriate towards development costs.

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