Brakes are put on bid to ban HGV lorries from streets of West Lothian village

A bid to ban HGVs from the streets of a West Lothian village has been ruled out, amid concerns about the effects of a controversial housing development on a former hospital site.

Dechmont community Council wanted the lorries banned from the area (C) Getty Images Dechmont community Council wanted the lorries banned from the area

Almost 1000 homes will be built in the grounds of the former Bangour Hospital, and some of the listed buildings will be converted into 91 new homes. West Lothian Council granted planning permission in principle for the redevelopment of the Bangour site in March last year. The community council in Dechmont had raised concerns about the impact on the local area, particularly from traffic, and had requested physical controls such as traffic gates to stop HGVs using the village street.

They have now been told that such a move will not be possible, as officials sought to provide reassurance that residents in Dechmont will have a say in how the development affects their lives. Councillors on the Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh Local area committee raised questions about traffic calming in Dechmont village with the head of planning Craig McCorriston. Councillor Diane Calder said: “You are aware that the community council in Dechmont have grave concerns about additional traffic going through the village, and on the A89.

There seems to be constant questions. Can the community council be kept in the loop?” Mr McCorriston said that the community council had been fully engaged up to the point where planning permission had been granted.

Traffic calming measures would be part of the ongoing discussions with developers once planning consent is signed off, he added. Some traffic calming measures have been promised but some couldn’t be met. Mr McCorriston said that while officers were sympathetic to the request for traffic gates to stop HGVs, to install physical controls would also mean that service buses could not use the street.

He added that traffic calming would be subject of negotiations with the developers. “These are discussions that are still to be had.” He added: “Officers are happy to engage with the community council either in a virtual meeting or by attending one of their meetings.

The impact of the development of 998 homes on the hospital site has raised fears of a ripple effect on problems of increased traffic during and after construction on infrastructure stretching from Bathgate to Uphall station and beyond. Councillors from surrounding communities are acutely aware of the stresses on parking at stations and the road infrastructure. The A89, once largely rural in nature and surroundings, is seeing its environment change rapidly.

Ahead of the building work crews are already on site at the hospital clearing trees and laying access roads. Mr McCorriston said negotiations to draw up a section 75 agreement which will cover the provision of a new school are close to conclusion. Once that agreement is signed planning consent will be granted and the developers – Allanwater – can come forward with detailed proposals.

Children from the Bangour development and Dechmont village will go from there onto the new Winchburgh Academy which opens in August.

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