Masterplan should be developed before new housing’s considered

Main issues report map for Linlithgow
Main issues report map for Linlithgow
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Linlithgow residents have voiced their concerns about the future development of the town at a public meeting.

A total of 120 residents attended an exhibition to discuss the implications of the proposals at an event organised by Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council.

John Kelly, community council planning secretary and convenor of Linlithgow Planning Forum, said: “It is great that Linlithgow residents engage which such enthusiasm and voice their opinion on matters which are not exactly exciting but which have a profound impact on our town and the way that it works.”

According to the Planning Forum, 440 homes had received planning permission in the town during its period of planning restraint, introduced in 1994.

But there had been little improvement to the town’s health and education provision and almost no work done on its chronic traffic and parking problems.

For example, 2000 passengers use Linlithgow station each weekday, the highest in West Lothian, but there are only 103 spaces in the station car parks.

Members of the public at the meeting said that further development should be restrained until steps are taken to improve the Burgh’s overloaded infrastructure.

And the Planning Forum is of the opinion that a master plan for the town and its transport, health and education services should be completed prior to any development.

It is strongly felt that this should be included in the Local Development Plan, which will guide planners until 2024.

Nevertheless, on learning that no social family housing had been constructed in Linlithgow since 1975 and that 533 Linlithgow council houses had been sold as a result of the “right to buy” policy, the meeting unanimously endorsed the proposed construction of the Mill Road council housing, previously reported in the Journal and Gazette.

A council planning spokesman said: “The consultation on the Main Issues Report (MIR) for West Lothian Local Development Plan closes on October 17.

“Representations will then be assessed and reported to committee, hopefully by the end of the year. Publication of the proposed plan will take place in 2015.

“We have been encouraged by the level of interest at our drop-in events and in the number of responses we have received.

‘‘It is vital parties give us their views at this stage.”

Visit www.westlothian.gov.uk/MIR to view the plan.