Trust us with a £6 million plan to revamp High Street eyesore

Victoria Halls, Linlithgow, showing 'for sale' board April 2014
Victoria Halls, Linlithgow, showing 'for sale' board April 2014
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An eyesore which has blighted Linlithgow’s High Street for many years may be set for a revival of fortunes as new plans are revealed for its 
future.

The Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust has this week revealed its plans for a community-owned entertainment complex in Linlithgow’s High Street to replace the crumbling building.

A new feasibility study, compiled by local architects EK:JN, envisages three different sizes of auditoria, capable of accommodating cinema, theatre and music performances.

David Tait, convener of the Trust, said: “The largest hall would seat around 200 people, the middle sized around 50 and the smallest around 25. We want to provide seating of the highest quality, fixed not retractable, as part of a decor package to provide the best possible experience for 
patrons.”

“The theatre entrance would be reached via a pedestrian route linking through to the Peel and, although the High Street frontage would rise to four-storeys, it would still be a lot lower than the current building.”

Ron Smith, of the Trust, said: “Facing the High Street, we envisage a bar/café/restaurant for the cinema/theatre, as well as retail units and flats to provide revenue for the Trust to operate and maintain the overall property.

“The study was compiled with input from local potential user groups and other professionals such as surveyors and engineers and we received valuable advice from the operators of other similar community-owned facilities, mainly the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy.”

Trust member Chris Cook revealed that the facility would cost around £6 million.

He added: “We have discussed the project with the BIG Lottery and have submitted a draft bid for funding.

“Lottery officials were impressed that the £10,000 cost of the feasibility study had been entirely funded from the local community and businesses. We are also pursuing the acquisition of the property from the owners.”

The Trust will exhibit the plans at its inaugural general meeting, to be held in the Burgh Halls in late March.

Although it has 170 members, it needs to aim for membership of about 1000 to demonstrate that the project has community backing.

David Tait concluded: “We are entirely a voluntary organisation. We know that the general community is squarely behind the project but much more help is needed if it is to see the light of day.”

To join the trust email Ron Smith or Chris Cook at victoria2013hall@gmail.com or call 01506 510333.

A spokesman for Montreal Properties Limited said: “We are still awaiting a formal valuation and offer from the Trust which, despite requesting on several occassions, has not yet been forthcoming.

“Until we are in receipt of this we are in no position to comment on any plans which might involve the sale of our property in Linlithgow at some point in the future.”