‘Over-ambitious’ plan for Victoria Hall?

Victoria Halls Project''Pictured L-R: Chris Cook and architect Jon Newey''Image by: Malcolm McCurrach
Victoria Halls Project''Pictured L-R: Chris Cook and architect Jon Newey''Image by: Malcolm McCurrach
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Owners of the Victoria Hall have slammed new plans for its redevelopment as lacking clarity and over-ambitious.

John Cortellessa is frustrated at the Victoria Hall Trust who he entered into a six month agreement with last July, 
allowing them to look into 
development of the High Street property.

But plans revealed to the public last month with a 
theatre/cinema, craft studios, retail units and flats, had not been run by the Cortellessa family first.

John said: “When the Trust first approached me, I thought the community-led proposal was interesting. But the project has grown arms and legs, and is not what they spoke to me about initially.

He added: “I don’t think the project is realistic. They are over-ambitious and will scare investors off. You need to keep both feet on the ground.”

He is also not happy with the proposed one bedroom flats, and a path to the Rose Garden, which he claims he was never consulted on. He now believes locals have been asked to believe in something unrealistic, and wishes he had never got involved.

He added: “The Trust are raising £10,000 for a feasibility study, but into what? Where will the funding come from? This is a grey area, and it’s one grey area after another. There should be a lot more clarity and realism in what is being proposed.”

He added the property was bought for over £700,000, rather than the previously claimed £140,000, and that he was not taken to the Small Claims Court by neighbour Ewan McVicar, but rather came to an out of court settlement with Mr McVicar, while fully co-operating with West Lothian Council.