Plans to rejuvenate the Victoria Hall in Linlithgow are gathering pace but some locals have concerns that the building bubble could burst.
Over £6500 was collected after an exhibition showcasing the draft plans including a theatre/cinema, community space and craft studios, retail units and flats, attracted over 200 people and widespread support.
But this is not the first time plans to remodel the Victoria Hall have been proposed and some neighbours have had bad experiences in the past.
Ewan McVicar of 84 High Street said: “I feel the Victoria Hall Trust is mounting an impressive PR campaign before they have to face the planners.
“Further, when demolition of the back of the halls forced us out of our house for six weeks, the owners would not cover our out-of-pocket costs until they were forced to by the Small Claims Court.
‘‘Lastly, the back of the halls is now a great heap of rotting wood and a major fire hazard. The owners have not been good neighbours.”
Owners, the Cortellessa family, bought the property for £140,000 eight years ago, but in that time the former cinema has remained undeveloped and partially demolished. In 2008, they were granted planning permission by West Lothian Council to create a leisure activity area, and a new restaurant and cafe on site, but this has now expired. When contacted this week, the Cortellessa family did not respond.
The Victoria Hall Trust is in a temporary agreement with the owners until January 1, 2014, where they will undertake a feasibility study into the plans, before they hope to firm up a further legal agreement.