A WHOLE host of bumper offical outdoor events could now be staged within Linlithgow Peel.
West Lothian Council has revealed this week that work is poised to commence on a new bridge over the Peel Burn.
A contract has been agreed with Crummock Scotland Ltd costing just over £70,000 for the bridge works which includes relocation, new foundations, a new, wider bridge deck and modifications to gates, walls and access paths.
The firm has previously successfully completed several contracts on behalf of West Lothian Council.
The money has come from town centre regeneration budgets which have been match-funded by West Lothian Council.
Work will start on Monday, April 16, and should be completed within four weeks.
That will enable much heavier vehicles to gain access to The Peel which, in turn, means that the infra-structure required to stage major outdoor events can now be taken on site.
However, there are no immediate plans to bring top names to town.
Organisations such as Celebrate Linlithgow have been keen to see the bridge, which is situated behind the Low Port Centre, upgraded but they are aware, however, that Historic Scotland will have the final say as to what kind of events might be allowed within the Peel in the future.
A spokesman for Celebrate Linlithgow said: ‘‘The new bridge will permit a wider range of activities within the Peel than at present and we are supportive of it on that basis.
‘‘That would allow open air concerts or something similar depending, of course, on Historic Scotland granting permission for such events to take place.
He added: ‘‘We were pleasantly surprised when the contract came in significantly under the estimated price.’’
Under the terms of the deal between Historic Scotland and West Lothian Council, land on both sides of the bridge will belong to the government agency and, consequently, it will take responsibility for all subsequent maintenance issues surrounding the new bridge.
A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: ‘‘The majority of the works will be carried out from within the Low Port Centre boatyard and we have been in close contact with them to ensure that disruption is minimised as far as possible.
‘‘There should be a minimal amount of inconvenience to members of the public.’’
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: ‘‘The new bridge being put in place by the council replaces a smaller existing bridge which will allow easier vehicle access to the palace.
‘‘Ground conditions and the delicate archaeology mean that deliveries will continue to be made using smaller vehicles to minimise the impact on this popular site and attractive setting for Linlithgow Palace.”
She added that the bridge would not be the deciding factory in determining the type and scale of events held in The Peel.
She said that any proposals would be considered within the context of Historic Scotland’s existing event guidelines.