Almondvale Court, Livingston

Winner of the Scotland Loves Local Town Centre Living Award 2023

A development which has created almost 150 homes in the heart of Livingston won the Town Centre Living Award.

West Lothian Council and the Wheatley Group were rewarded for their Almondvale Court project.

It has seen a former brownfield site transformed into 146 homes – 120 for social rent with the other 26 available for rental at a mid-market rate.

The development – a mixture of one two and three-bedroom flats – includes 45 Livingwell homes, provided by Wheatley Care to help older tenants live happily, healthily and secure in their own homes for longer.

Awards judges heard: “The development provides much needed high quality affordable housing in the heart of Livingston town centre.

“Our Livingwell customers benefit from a residents lounge where they can socialise with their neighbours and take part in activities which both helps to encourage a community feel as well as combating loneliness.

“The proximity to the shopping centre has been hugely beneficial in enabling some customers to thrive independently.”


Merchant House, Inverness

Not-for-profit developer Highland Housing Association completed the sympathetic restoration of Merchant House, 51-53 Castle Street, Inverness, between July 2020 and November 2022. The historic 18th century, B-listed building, located against the backdrop of Inverness Castle, had fallen into a state of disrepair, causing an eyesore for the local community. Before HHA’s ownership, the building, which is located on one of the city’s oldest terraced streets, could only stand with the support of scaffolding.

The sympathetic restoration, made possible through a £1.2 million Scottish Partnership Support for Regeneration grant, private finance and City Region Deal funding, ensured that as much of the original building was saved where possible.

HHA’s restoration of Merchant House converted a pre-existing derelict, historic building into attractive city centre housing, creating eight much-needed rental opportunities for local residents. Merchant House’s redevelopment also has commercial space on the property’s ground floor, which is soon to become home to a local business – a deli.

The regeneration of Merchant House is a standout example of how partnership working coupled with sympathetic design can restore a historic building for 21st century living. 

Simon Square, Edinburgh

Simon Square is a traditional Scottish tenement built in a contemporary way, out of healthy, vapour-open, carbon-locking solid structural timber. It’s an example of contemporary town centre living, which provides density with amenity and promotes wellbeing and a climate friendly future by providing healthy and pleasant living environments for its occupants.

Located on a tight site, in Edinburgh’s Southside, surrounded by a diversity of 19th century stone tenement, Simon Square contains 6 flats, two per floor, with the upper extended up into a duplex with rooftop terrace. This is the first commercial developer-led heavy timber residential development in Scotland, leading the way as an exemplar of town centre living that provides density with amenity and healthy living environments in a central, urban environment.

Previous planning applications on the site had failed to acquire permission – to achieve this in such a dense historic setting, planners required the structure to sit sympathetically amongst the 19th century stone tenements that surround the site. To align with requirements from planning but achieve a distinct and purposeful appearance, Simon Square’s timber structure is wrapped in a brick shell. Even though the new building is taller than the builders’ yard which it replaces, more light is let in to the neighbouring flats than before thanks to lowering the boundary wall from 4m to 2.