Monday June 12th 2023
West Lothian Council is to push for a change in planning laws to demand more bungalows be built.
The move comes a month after the council’s planning committee heard a plea for more inclusive housing.
The bulk of applications for new homes are for large two storey homes – the most profitable for house builders and land owners.
Bungalows which generally occupy a greater footprint, enjoyed a boom in popularity in the 1970s, but have fallen out of favour.
Livingston has very few bungalows and across the county the only ones that exist are holdovers from the Seventies and early 1980’s.
Single level living in West Lothian usually means an old cottage.
The council’s Development Management Committee was told recently that of the 200 homes built in Murieston, Livingston, in the last five years not one was suitable for single level living or wheelchair access.
Clare O’Lone and her neighbours had suggested that new homes on Tarbert Drive should be bungalows as a practical way of addressing their privacy requests as the new houses back directly onto existing homes.
Ms O’Lone told the DMC “We could also address the lack of new private homes in Murieston which are accessible to all. The area has seen an increase in private housing by approximately 50 per cent in three years.
“Sadly not one of these 200 homes built affords single level living, not one has been designed or built for a wheelchair user.”
Ms O’Lone said: “Before dismissing the idea on the grounds of profit, market analysis will prove there is a massive gap in the market for the supply of new bungalows.”
A composite motion raised at full council by council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Councillor Willie Boyle called for planning legislation to require more house types, including bungalows. It was backed by the meeting
The leader told the meeting: “I’m sure every member has been approached by elderly or disabled constituents with regard to the shortage of bungalows even in the social rented area. Therefore we ask the Chief Executive to write to the planning minister to have this deficiency addressed through planning legislation.”
Councillor Fitzpatrick, whose ward includes Murieston, added: “We are as a council very restricted because we cannot demand there should be a certain percentage of bungalows or similar accommodation. In planning legislation there’s no distinction other than flats and houses and that’s what causes the difficulty.”
Councillor Boyle said it had been an issue brought up in the past and suggested the council should have addressed it during consultation on the new National Planning Framework
He continued that it was something the council should support from reasons of inclusivity adding: “ a lot of people, for various reasons , cannot move into a three storey town house or a block of flats. We need a change in legislation to address this anomaly.”
His proposal to add that the council look to request different house types from developers as part of developer contributions was accepted as part of the composite agreement.Tweet Share on Facebook