Burghmuir ‘yes’ drive steps up

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A LACK of top class sports facilities in Linlithgow have motivated some local groups to back controversial plans for extensive development at Burghmuir in the week public commenting comes to an end.

Today (Friday) is the last day comments can be made on the planning application from Wallace Land Ltd to develop over 100 acres of farmland at Burghmuir between Oracle and the M9. Around 400 people have had their say on West Lothian Council’s website, in what is thought to be one of the biggest planning applications for the Royal Burgh in a generation. Plans include 600 homes, a community park and dance studio, a retail store, 60-bed care home, 60-bed hotel with conference centre, and J3 slip roads onto the M9.

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The more vocal group to date has been the ‘no” campaign, but this week local sports groups gave the thumbs up to proposals, specifically the dance and gymnastics studios, playing pitches, changing facilities and the space for tennis courts proposed.

Linlithgow Rose Community FC, Linlithgow Tennis Club, Linlithgow School of Gymnastics and the Marion Sweeney School of Dance can see the benefits for local children.

Douglas Gray, president of Linlithgow Rose Community FC, said: “This development will assist in addressing a recognised deficiency of facilities in the town and we welcome these proposals. This is just the beginning of the process and we look forward to engaging with the developers and other stakeholders further on delivering these proposed state-of-the-art facilities.”

Isobel McCall from Linlithgow School of Gymnastics and Marion Sweeney who started Marion Sweeney School of Dance 25 years ago, have long been frustrated by the lack of fit for purpose facilities locally.

Isobel added: “The delivery of new gymnastics and dance studios serves to address the considerable challenges we as groups have in accommodating our requirements.”

Jason Wallace from Wallace Land said he recognised the development would create huge debate in the town.

He added: “We have been encouraged with the obvious interest a proposal such as this was bound to generate. It has certainly created a debate about the future direction the town wants to go in and it is clearly very pleasing to have the support of the football, gymnastics and tennis clubs for the delivery of new facilities.

“We have also seen strong community support for the new junctions onto the M9 and many of the other benefits that this proposal could bring.”

Objections to the proposals are far reaching, covering the detrimental effect to shopping on the High Street, to educational impact with the influx of families into the new homes.

Outside the burgh, the Scottish Civic Trust has also joined the ‘no’ campaign.

The plans will now be debated at a full meeting of West Lothian Council in the next few months who will decide whether or not they get the go-ahead.