The £58 million investment programme will result in West Lothian's largest ever single investment in Education facilities.
Winchburgh is one of three Core Development Areas in West Lothian. In total, there is planning permission in principle for 3,450 homes at Winchburgh.
Phase one plans include 550 residential units plus a local supermarket, five additional commercial units and a town square. Around 400 residential units have been completed and occupied and the infrastructure for the commercial area is nearing completion. Other highlights include a new children's nursery and a railway station.
No more than 550 houses can be occupied at Winchburgh before the first phases of the new non-denominational school is funded. In practice this became a significant constraint on development as there will be insufficient developer contributions gathered by the 550th house occupation to fund the school. To build future phases, developers previously needed to put in place education facilities as well as build or contribute funding towards a new school to accommodate anymore homes.
Last October, the council agreed, in principle, to forward fund the delivery of the new schools via the City Region Deal's £150million of funding guarantees, which could be put in place in order to unlock the development at Winchburgh. Given the terms of the City Region Deal, the Council agreed, in principle, to borrow the funding required to deliver the non-denominational school subject to the Scottish Government providing a Standby funding facility to underwrite the council's borrowing. That facility would protect the council's position.
Since then council officers have been working with the Scottish Government and Winchburgh Development Ltd (the lead developer) to complete a Business Case for the guarantee. The council has made significant progress in negotiations with the Scottish Government and Winchburgh Developments Ltd to agree funding arrangements.
The Council Executive last week (Tuesday 17 April) agreed the Business Case which will now be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval. Subject to obtaining that approval the council will commence procurement of the schools. The council will start work on the designs of the news schools and it is expected that planning permission will be sought for the new schools early next year.
The new schools at Winchburgh are:
· A replacement Holy Family primary school
· A new non-denominational secondary school
· A new denominational secondary school
Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "There is still a lot of work to be done but this is a significant step forward in securing more state-of-the-art education facilities in West Lothian. The council is fully committed to securing development and continuing to raise education attainment through a first class school estate for generations of young people.
"The council's commitment to forward fund education is also linked to the Scottish Government providing an infrastructure loan to deliver the railway station and motorway junction which will open up over 30 acres of prime economic development land in this strategic location. The development, including the economic development land, is expected to support hundreds of new jobs and thousands of new homes in Winchburgh.
"West Lothian continues to be an area of growth in Scotland. One that performs very well both in terms of employment rates and an area that people want to live, work and do business in. West Lothian Council will continue to make every effort to ensure that West Lothian continues to thrive and prosper."