LINLITHGOW High Street will be on lock down at the start of the busiest shopping time of the year.
Following news that the Palace and Peel will host the world famous Metiers d’Art collection by Chanel on December 4, it was revealed that the eastbound lane of Linlithgow High Street will close from 4.30pm-7pm on the day with a diversion put in place. Only event traffic will be allowed to use the closed lane with around 150 limousines expected en route to the Palace, where the prestigious event will host 480-490 guests, including celebrities and international press, said to be staying at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh.
Sadly, despite the hype, Hollywood icon Brad Pitt and partner Angelina Jolie are not expected to be among the guests attending.
The cars will turn up the Kirk Wynd, drop off at the Palace, and proceed over the Peel to the Low Port bridge, and up Blackness Road to Oracle’s car park.
The closure was requested by the police due to the large volume of traffic and onlookers expected.
The westbound lane of Linlithgow High Street could also be closed if crowds are too large. Pedestrian barriers will be put up around the Cross and on parts of the High Street with designated crossings.
In unusual scenes for the Royal burgh, security guards moved in last Friday, monitoring all access points to the Palace and Peel. They will monitor movements for four weeks.
At the weekend, the Peel construction started with metal flooring, heating vents and a runway to the Low Port bridge appearing. There are around 50 crew on site with 200 expected in the lead up to the show. They are based at the Low Port Centre.
Linlithgow BIDS co- ordinator Stewart Ness has put together a guide map for workers in the hope that they explore the town and make use of local businesses.
But the disruption level has aggravated some local residents.
Ken Macdonald from Market Lane said the show was a major coup but added: “The disruption already being caused to Linlithgow so far in advance of the event seems somewhat excessive.
‘‘All this security simply panders to the ego of grossly over-rated so-called ‘celebrities’ at a cost to the goodwill of residents of the town.”
Parts of the Peel, the Palace and its car park will be unavailable until Tuesday, December 11, while the temporary structures are built and then removed after the show.
Access to the playpark and the path around the back of the Palace remains, apart from December 3 and 4, when the Peel and path on the loch’s north side will also close to the public.
Generators will take up seven spaces in the upper level of the Vennel car park until December 10 and the whole car park will be used by event organisers on December 4.
A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “Plans have been put in place to try and keep disruption to the public to a minimum but the scale of the event and the access required means some impact is inevitable.
‘‘I hope those affected will be patient in the short-term, as we believe the event will have positive long-term benefits in areas such as tourism and the local economy.”
High Street traders have been asked to organise deliveries for before lunchtime on Tuesday, December 4.
Urgent deliveries in the afternoon can be re-directed to Kingsfield Golf Centre where an unloading area has been set up.
St Michael’s Church remains accessible through the south door and classes at the Low Port Centre continue as usual.
By Irene MacKinnon