You may be aware of some recent activity at the Victoria Hall and so we thought it important to share with you what Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust know and what we are doing at the moment.
Over many months the owner of the building submitted a number of planning applications, the last for the construction of sixteen flats above two retail units. This planning application was approved at a full planning committee of West Lothian Council, but because of administrative issues related to a “section 75” planning agreement, planning permission has to date not been formally completed.
Demolition of the facade cannot commence until the process is complete. It was always the intention of West Lothian Council to retain the facade until a contractor has been appointed to construct the building.
It would be a disappointing outcome if the plans for 16 flats above 2 retail units were to proceed, however the Trust’s overriding goal from the outset was for the derelict building to be developed.
Despite the planning permission not having been completed a traffic order has been granted to close the pavement in order to erect scaffolding to facilitate inspection and demolition. We believe this is premature in the absence of the completed “section 75” agreement and have asked the council to clarify. It is believed though that the work currently being undertaken is purely investigative prior to any demolition work starting.
Our primary concern today is that the building not be demolished without a clear commitment to build, and to that end we have asked the council to confirm that they are in possession of copy contracts that confirm building will commence following demolition.
We believe that a gap site of that scale would be a worse outcome than the existing situation.
To summarise, we have asked the West Lothian Council three questions:
- What irregularities exist with the planning application and associated section 75 submission that has held up the issuing of the planning permission?
- Is it appropriate that the traffic order has been granted in advance of planning permission being granted?
- What guarantees has the council received that building will start once demolition is complete?
Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust had recently started a fund raising effort to enable us to submit our own planning application for the site, but we have put that on hold while we address the above questions with the council. We had estimated a total of £20k for this work to pay architect fees to turn the plans in the feasibility into full drawings and the £12k planning application fees.
In the meantime, Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust has been continuing to gather signatures in support of the application to the Scottish Government to register an interest in the site and this is rapidly approaching the required 1000 statements of support!
You can add your support below:
**Personal and contact details submitted shall be used to demonstrate community and wider support for the Linlithgow Victoria Hall redevelopment proposal and for no other purpose.**