Public meeting says no to Burghmuir plan

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A PACKED out public meeting on the Wallace Land plans for Burghmuir gathered an overwhelmingly negative response to the proposals.

The Tuesday meeting was organised by Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council who chaired the discussion at the Burgh Halls, on what planning secretary Jack Thomson believes has generated more interest than any other planning application in Linlithgow.

Debate focused on community issues - location, population, and visual impact; social issues - housing, care for the elderly, schools and health facilities; and commercial issues - High Street development, retail expansion and tourism.

Springfield residents voiced objections on the impact on local education, complaining that an educational impact assessment was not included in the planning papers, Springfield Primary and local nurseries are at capacity, and there are already waiting lists for the Brownies and Guides, demonstrating the amount of young people in the area.

Kevin McPhillips who lives in Springfield said: “Parents of children under the age of 14 should be gravely worried about the proposals. The schools are creaking at the seams.”

A need for housing was identified, but many believed the affordable housing included in the plans would not target those most in need.

Problems sited with the retail impact assessment stated that it didn’t consider Bo’ness and underplayed the impact on Linlithgow. A medium sized supermarket, comparable to Tesco in South Queensferry, would also sell lots of non-food items which could seriously impact local businesses.

It was also mentioned the traffic impact assessment did not take into account plans for a health centre.

And for some it was the problem of so many facilities being out of town, and the scale of the development that was too much.

Resident David Olwa said: “They want to change Linlithgow into a city. How can all this be done on one application?”

The £200,000 fund was disregarded as an amount that wouldn’t even cover repairs to the front of the Star and Garter.

Local Ron Smith said: “The value of this type of land in Linlithgow is £1m per hectare, so we are talking about £50m in planning value. That says it all.”

It was also pointed out that the proposals were for planning permission in principle and details could change if the plans were approved.

Nicholas Leonard, chairman of Linlithgow Against Supermarket Development, said: “The overwhelmingly negative response to the proposals for Burghmuir reflects the widespread concern about the damaging impact they would have on Linlithgow.”

Comments on the planning application can be made until March 16 and on West Lothian Council’s website over 300 have already been lodged.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We have received a significant volume of representations from the public regarding the Burghmuir development. All the points raised will be taken into account before a decision on the application is made.”

nAn application was lodged with West Lothian Council for a mixed use development at Burghmuir in February from Wallace Land Ltd.

n The 48 hectare site would include 600 homes (150 affordable housing), a medium sized food store, junction three slip roads onto the M9, a 60 bed care home, a 60 bed hotel with conferencing facilities, land for potential health care facilities and £200k for a town centre benefit fund.

nIt is estimated 500 permanent jobs will be created, with a potential 1,000 more in the allocated business site next to it. Construction would also create 250 jobs over the next decade.

nLeaflets from Wallace Land and local town groups detailing plans and objections have circulated the town.