West Lothian Council Denies Mishandling Funds For Partnership Centre

West Lothian Council has vehemently denied allegations that they reneged on a 2009 promise to deliver a Partnership Centre to the village of Winchburgh.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 7:00 am
Winchburgh village development
Winchburgh village development

The response was issued after the local community council and hundreds of locals accused the council of scrapping a £2.25m Partnership Centre - an alleged key pledge when proposing the expansion of the village.

Irked residents claim that the council received more than £1bn in investment to help grow the area and that the money has made its way to its “coffers’ instead of improving their local area.

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They maintain that the lack of delivery means that the area will be without adequate leisure, community or health spaces for the fast growing population of the village.

Under the current set up they say that residents have to travel over three miles to an already overcrowded GP in Kirkliston as well as the only access to leisure facilities being during non-school hours at a not yet completed facility.

But the council contests the allegations and say that angered residents are mistaken, as there was an area “earmarked for a partnership centre back at the start of the development plans 11 years ago” but that they do not hold the power to implement a centre as that is the responsibility of NHS Scotland.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “Winchburgh is receiving the largest single education expansion ever undertaken by the council, together with a range of other facilities to be provided by the Winchburgh developer.

“The investment is estimated at over £60 million and the new facilities including a swimming pool, all weather sports pitches and meeting space, will be available for community use outside school hours.”

Under these new plans a library and community cafe is hoped to be made available to the public.

They added: “The site for a partnership centre was reserved 11 years ago when the masterplan was created to ensure that options were available to the council and partners, including NHS Lothian, for future service delivery in the expanded village.

“The existing and new facilities in the village will continue to allow the delivery of council services to residents in the expanded community.”

Nicolas Knox of Winchburgh Community Council said: “It is unacceptable for West Lothian Council to take investment to the tune of millions, to agree on the expansion of Winchburgh village and make promises that would directly impact the wellbeing of the existing population and encourage new residents, and then fail to deliver.

“If the current health crisis has shown us anything, it is the need for good health and social care provision at the point of need. It is simply unacceptable to expect the people of Winchburgh to travel 3 miles to Kirkliston for basic healthcare which is already oversubscribed.

“What’s more, as experts urge prevention rather than cure, it is simply unreasonable that WLC should pocket money from investors and not reinvest it in the wellbeing of the local population through provision of community space such as leisure centres and swimming pools.”

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