Star and Garter blame council for expensive delays

Star & Garter Hotel - exterior shot of the back of the building (the cafe bar extension which faces the railway station).
Star & Garter Hotel - exterior shot of the back of the building (the cafe bar extension which faces the railway station).

The Star and Garter hope to open in the next few weeks but the developers claim that West Lothian Council has delayed their progress.

Ross Wilkie along with business partner David Kennedy has been rebuilding and renovating the property at number one High Street for the past year and a half.

But a recent planning application for three flag poles to be placed outside the property was refused by West Lothian Council, a decision that was then reversed by the Scottish Government when the owners appealed. The paperwork has cost over £2000 and Ross feels the local authority have been obstructive in helping the new hotel get off the ground.

He said: “It has been very frustrating - the council seem to want to say no to everything. I never expected to come across this behaviour from the council. They are working against us, and there is no way of knowing how much this has cost us in delays.”

The Scottish Government reporter at the appeal said that the council “acted in an unreasonable manner” as there was no acceptable justification for the decision, but stated they were not liable for expenses.

A West Lothian Council spokesman confirmed they had refused consent for the flagpoles due to their impact on the surroundings of the listed building, which was then overturned by the Scottish Government, but added they had worked closely with the Star’s owner to secure a high quality restoration.

He added: “The council took into account the importance of the listed building and its imposing location in the conservation area in coming to its own view.”