The lodges will have two bedrooms and the community building, which is intended to be a multi-purpose hub for residents, will have a community room, office, consultation rooms for use by visiting medical staff, kitchen, laundry room and toilets. The lodges are caravans in terms of the Caravan Sites and Control Development Act 1960 and will need to comply with guidelines.
The applicant and site owner is Jacob Hendry and the decision to grant planning permission subject to conditions was given at a meeting of West Lothian Council'S Development Management Committee today (Wednesday 16 October).
The site itself is located in the countryside and the homes are designed to attract private ownership by members of the gypsy/travelling community, but it is not intended to limit occupation to Gypsy/Travellers only. The applicant's aim is to provide a resource which is currently lacking in Scotland - retirement homes designed for members of the wider Gypsy/Traveller community - but also to encourage integration between this community and the settled community nearby.
The residents of the proposed lodges would have access to Kirknewton by foot, via the footbridge over the railway line. Kirknewton village centre one mile from the site.
Councillor Charles Kennedy, Chair of the council's Development and Management Committee said: "The benefits that the proposed development would offer the country's Gypsy/Traveller community are, potentially, considerable. This unique concept of a retirement village catering for this community, offering accommodation and services, is required and meets Government guidance and local council policy."