West Lothian Council has approved an updated Asset Management Strategy and General Services Capital Programme for 2020/21 to 2027/28. Ensuring West Lothian's school estate remains one of the best in the Scotland continues to be a key priority, with combined investment of over £191million over the next eight years.
This includes: over £21 million investment in improving the school estate between 2020/21 and 2027/28 to provide children with the best possible platform for learning; and a further £20 million spent in improving Additional Support Needs (ASN) schools including a new Beatlie Campus School, a new and relocated Cedarbank School and a reconfigured and extended Pinewood School. The Winchburgh Core Development Area represents the largest single education expansion investment undertaken by the council. Projects include the delivery of two new secondary schools and a new primary school, with land engineering and site preparation works already underway with construction due to start in Spring 2020. Total investment is estimated at £62 million and will be predominantly funded by developer contributions.
Over £12 million will be invested in a number of projects to increase capacity for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision, to ensure the council can meet the obligation of providing all eligible pre-school children with 1,140 free hours of childcare per year from August 2020. Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "It's vital that our staff have the resources they need to deliver essential services for the people of West Lothian, and this capital investment programme will support that work.
"Without facilities such as: schools; service centres for our frontline services such as waste, roads and building services; and our customer-focused partnerships centres, we would not be able to deliver the services that people in West Lothian rely on, so it's important we invest our limited capital budget wisely. "With a growing young population in West Lothian, education will be the focus of our investment, with our work to build new schools, upgrade our existing school estate and make the largest ever investment in West Lothian's additional support needs (ASN) school network continuing."
Work is already underway to deliver the new £5 million Whitburn Partnership Centre and £1.2 million will be spent transforming the Ability Centre, Carmondean, into a new hub for local service provision at Livingston North Partnership Centre. Approximately £14 million will be invested in other property modernisation projects, including projects such as the new £4 million homelessness supported accommodation.
West Lothian has one of the best maintained road networks in Scotland thanks to continuing prudent investment. In 2020/21, a total of £3 million will be invested in roads with major projects including: the A89 between Dechmont and Kilpunt Roundabout; Edinburgh Road in Bathgate and Blaeberryhill Road in Whitburn among others. Phase two of the Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency Framework Programme (NDEEF) will see £800,000 invested to ensure the progression of a wider range of energy efficiency works that will reduce energy consumption and therefore deliver both financial and carbon emission reductions.
Other investment will include approximately £1.2 million on flood prevention and drainage projects; £1.4 million on LED Replacement lighting and the completion of the ongoing £1.3 million Bathgate Branch Railway Bridge and £2.7 million Skolieburn Bridges projects. Total Open Space investment of £2.5 million will include expenditure on cemeteries, children's play areas and improvements to internal pathways and roadways at country parks. Highlights includes £350,000 on a new 3G pitch at Watson park and £121,000 on the Almondell Historic Wall project, which aims to restore the old historical C-listed stone and mortar wall next to the visitor centre in the Almondell and Calderwood country park.
Over £4 million will be invested in 2020/21 in the modernisation of council Information and Communication Technology (ICT) assets to support delivery of essential services.