Work on one of Scotland’s biggest regeneration projects was today set to get under way.
The £200 million development around Armadale’s main railway station was being officially launched by Alex Neil, the Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Secretary.
Pupils from Armadale Academy were also due to plant a time capsule on the site that includes an Armadale Thistle match programme, a smartphone, items from the annual children’s gala day, the town’s crest and a school tie.
New images have also been unveiled showing a new primary school that will be at the heart of the site if councillors approve a detailed planning application.
The first phase of the scheme will see 180 houses being built by housing firms Taylor Wimpey and Bellway Homes, while supermarket giant Asda is expected to open a new store next September.
The wider development of the 120-hectare site will include 1000 homes, a hotel, a care home, leisure facilities and business space and it is estimated that the scheme will create 4500 permanent jobs.
Mr Neil said: “I am delighted to launch this project, which is a prime example of how co-operation between the public and private sector can benefit the local community and stimulate the wider economy.”
Ewan Prentice and Rachel Valentine, the depute head boy and depute head girl of Armadale Academy, were today due to bury the time capsule that has put been together by pupils from the school.
The major development was always envisaged around the railway station in the town, which is part of the new Bathgate-Airdrie rail link.
It attempts to take advantage of the “commuter drift” from Edinburgh, with people attracted to the area by its strong transport links.
Councillor Peter Johnston, leader of West Lothian Council, said: “The vision the developers had of the site, with the co-operation of West Lothian Council, is being realised and we look forward to continue working on ensuring that the potential of this development is fully realised.”
The next phase of development is expected to include 394 homes, shops, a new community building such as a doctors’ surgery and a new office building either for a selection of local firms or one high-profile occupier.
Sandra Carter, director of site developer SDA, said: “This £200m development is one of the most exciting regeneration projects taking place in Scotland, especially during such a challenging time in the property industry, and we are pleased to be delivering on the pledges we made to the local community over the last eight years of the project.”