THE Westhaugh transformation project has been approved by Clacks Council after housing services claimed the existing traveller site is “below satisfactory for current living standards”.

A total of 16 families have been relocated while the development is underway. 

The site is owned and managed by Clackmannanshire Council and each pitch is leased to residents.

In addition, the site provides a location for travellers to stay while providing cooking, sanitary and laundry facilities. 

Previously, residents have reported poor living conditions and key issues with the existing site.

Images of existing buildings showed mould on ceilings as well as other safety risks: gas canisters near caravans and homes; security bars on windows which pose a fire safety risk; and non-accessible steps. 

“Residents have a strong sense of pride but suffer from local identity due to perceptions of their culture and how their site looks,” planning documents stated.

“Residents generally do not feel safe due to the open nature of the site, the lack of manager presence and the absence of secure boundary treatment to the individual pitches.” 

In addition to living conditions, residents said the lack of public transport makes accessing work and the local economy “very difficult” for them.

The Westhaugh community has not seen any improvements since 2008.

Clackmannanshire Housing Services said “modest improvements” were made in 1997 and 2008, but added that “these are below satisfactory for current living standards.”

The current buildings will be demolished to make way for 16 replacement semi-detached homes and one community building in addition to caravan parking and other landscaping.  The work will also include a central playground for children. 

Planning documents read: “The new development will be a like-for-like replacement of the existing facilities albeit to a far greater standard. The number of units and residents will not change.

“Ultimately the design will significantly improve the lives of the residents and challenge the terrible results received when discussing the quality of living with the Westhaugh Community.”

According to planning papers, each pitch would benefit from “increased safety and privacy and will receive significant improvements to the immediate surroundings”.

It added: “All residents said they look forward to returning to Westhaugh once the works are complete and most have confirmed they intend to live here for the rest of their lives. Most children said they also see themselves living here in the future."