'Historic milestone': New era beckons for abandoned Scots estate

Kerry Macintosh with children Jared and Rebecca <i>(Image: Springfield Properties)</i>
Kerry Macintosh with children Jared and Rebecca (Image: Springfield Properties)

The transformation of a once-condemned housing estate in Livingston has reached a “historic milestone” with the official handover of the first few new homes being built on the site.

Deans South was earmarked for demolition 20 years ago after a fault was discovered in the concrete used to build them, causing homeowners to leave and the area falling into disrepair.

However following a long-running campaign, Springfield Properties and Wheatley Group agreed a deal last year to build nearly 50 new homes on the estate. These include a new home for resident Kerry Macintosh, who had fought for a better deal for residents and herself and was ultimately one of the last tenants to leave after the fault was identified.

Ms Macintosh bought a three-bedroom home at Deans South in 2002 and remained until September 2022, despite its deteriorating condition, because the financial deal offered by West Lothian Council to leave did not match how much she paid for the house.

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Ms Macintosh was joined this week by the Springfield team and Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, as she collected the keys to her new home.

She said: “Having waited for this day for over 20 years, I can’t quite believe this is actually happening. It’s hard to put into words how it felt to be handed the keys and to take the very first steps into my brand new home, it was a mixture of relief and pure joy.

“The whole team at Springfield have been amazing. They have been an enormous support over the last eight years and have been determined to find a way forward even when we were all frustrated and things seemed bleak. A safe and secure home in a thriving community is all I’ve ever wanted and we’re finally in a position to make this happen. I can’t wait to get settled into my new home!”

Elgin-based Springfield and Wheatley, the social housing giant, signed a deal worth £9.7 million in June 2023 to drive the regeneration of the site. Construction is underway for 55 high-quality new homes, 46 of which are affordable homes, while the other nine private homes will be built for existing homeowners. All of the private homes will be handed over to residents along with the first affordable homes next month.

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Tom Leggeat, managing director of Springfield Partnerships, said: “Handing the keys to brand new homes to the people that have lived in an abandoned estate for so many years marks a momentous moment in the story of Deans South. We are incredibly proud to have played a pivotal role in delivering high-quality and energy efficient homes that the community deserve.

“It has been a journey to say the least, and these new homes now stand as testament to our commitment to deliver much-needed social rented homes, as well as our promise to provide a ‘home for a home’ for those who have lived in Deans South for decades.

“We were delighted to watch Kerry take the first steps in her new home after years of tireless campaigning and we’re looking forward to watching the neighbourhood come to life as our new community members settle in.”

Ms Bardell said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Deans South residents at this exciting time. I have worked on behalf of Deans South residents for a number of years now and I know what this new development means to them. I'd like to congratulate everyone involved and I wish the residents the very best in their new homes."