Linlithgow community rallies to help keep the burgh looking beautiful

Jenny MacLean, Kathy Lindsay, Chantal Hamill, Ian Orr, Linda Orr and John Carswell are just some of the volunteers behind Burgh Beautiful's campaign.
Jenny MacLean, Kathy Lindsay, Chantal Hamill, Ian Orr, Linda Orr and John Carswell are just some of the volunteers behind Burgh Beautiful's campaign.

A group of volunteers is pleading with the community to back calls for help to save flower planters which adorn the streets of Linlithgow.

Burgh Beautiful is the team behind many of the hanging baskets, planters and flower beds in town but thanks to a cut in funding from West Lothian Council, there is to be an estimated shortfall of £3000.

It is hoped local businesses and generous donations from individuals will help keep the flowers in place and Burgh Beautiful has been spreading the word with specially made signs in the planters most at risk of disappearing.

Ian Orr, volunteer at Burgh Beautiful, said: “The town’s going to look pretty bare so we’ve got to make folk aware that the plants are going to be removed by the council.

“We’ve had a little bit of success so far. One of the firms in town has said it will sponsor three of the planters and there’s been a possible promise of maintenance.”

He added that the group need people to donate their time as well as funds to help with the upkeep of the flowers.

Volunteers at Burgh Beautiful knew they needed to do something that would grab the attention of the town which is why the signs saying “bye bye” were added to planters that could disappear if enough funding is not raised.

Ian said: “I’ve seen a few folk looking at the signs. We knew it had to be something that told people the exact spot that was under threat.”

He acknowledged it is not just Linlithgow that is experiencing cutbacks but towns like Bathgate and Livingston would be similarly affected.

The council set its budget in January and indicated a shortfall of £29.544 million which meant savings were set out.

In August, additional savings were announced in order to deal with an increased budget gap of £3.9 million over the next three years because of further under-funding.

The total funding gap equates to almost £34 million with funding from the Scottish Government not meeting the estimated growth in council expenditure.

A spokesperson for West Lothian Council said: “Despite significant budget challenges the council is very supportive of all West Lothian town centres and Linlithgow receives its fair share of town centre funding. Furthermore, the council provides additional match funding to the Linlithgow Business Improvement Districts of up to £80,000 each year.

“Burgh Beautiful can approach either the Town Centre Management Group or the Linlithgow BIDS to discuss funding to support their projects.

“The removal of summer planting across West Lothian was approved by the council in January 2013. Since then the council have met with representatives of Burgh Beautiful several times to discuss what support we can continue to offer in the future.

“Burgh Beautiful has expressed an interest in maintaining the planters and beds in Linlithgow.

“We are happy to work with local groups interested in adopting open areas and support them as much as we can, for example, by providing the use of hanging baskets and other planters free of charge.”

Volunteers hope the community will offer their time and support to keeping the streets of Linlithgow in full bloom.