First tenants welcomed to smart new flats on former Kirkintilloch school site
A new affordable housing development on the site of the former Lairdsland Primary School in Kirkintilloch has welcomed its first tenants.
The 38 affordable homes are situated in a mixture of three and four-storey buildings which contain one and two-bedroomed flats and will be used as council housing by East Dunbartonshire Council.
The new development, part of the Kirkintilloch Town Centre Masterplan, includes four wheelchair-accessible flats and eight amenity flats on the ground floor for tenants with specific health needs. The remaining flats are general needs housing.
The council worked in partnership with Cruden Building and Coltart Earley Architects to ensure that the homes were designed and built to complement surrounding buildings on Kerr Street and Queen Street, which sit within Kirkintilloch Town Centre Conservation Area.
The development, which included the demolition of the old school, was complete within two years and the final flats were handed over to the council in April.
Councillor Paul Ferretti, convener of Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets, said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this smart and sympathetic development in the heart of Kirkintilloch.
“This site forms just one part of the council’s affordable housing investment programme, which is helping to meet the needs of local people who are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.”
Site works included the creation of new parking spaces and soft and hard landscaping.
Artefacts from the original school have been incorporated into the new building including the school’s date stone, now displayed in the new landscaped courtyard, and original stonework, which has been used to create boundary walls, bin stores and bicycle sheds.
In addition, two cast iron columns from the world-famous Lion Foundry are now being used as streetlighting in the courtyard.
Colin Kennedy, construction director at Cruden Building, said: “In addition to creating spacious, energy efficient homes, the projects have also delivered community benefits including the employment of local people, including labourers and cleaners, site visits for young people, mentoring by Cruden staff, Q&A sessions with apprentices and work placements.”
Megan Cassidy, partner Mikey Hanlon and dog Lily have moved into one of the new wheelchair-accessible flats.
Megan said: “We are really happy with the flat. You can tell it has been specially designed and adapted for a wheelchair user, which is amazing.
“It is a lovely area and all our neighbours seem really nice. I think we will be here for a long time.”
Works have been carried out at nearby Holy Family and Lairdsland Schools as part of the Community Benefits Programme. Community projects included the construction of “Mud Kitchens” and the refurbishment of planters at local schools, the combined total of which was over £5,000.
Artefacts from the original Lairdsland building, including coat hooks and a section of banister, are now part of a dedicated display at the town’s Auld Kirk Museum. The display, which runs until September 2023, gives an overview of the history of the school and includes objects from the museum collection and images from EDLC Archives.
A mural from the original building, which dates from the 1930s and was hidden under new decor, and original wall tiles were removed and conserved by specialist conservators are also part of the Museums Collection.