A TRUST was launched this week to create a community hub out of the shell of the Star and Garter pub and £20,000 of investment has already been promised.
The Star and Garter is currently in the hands of liquidators and the Star and Garter Trust would like the iconic building returned to the community. The trust is supported by key local groups, Linlithgow Civic Trust, Linlithgow Business Association, Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow, Linlithgow Heritage Trust, Pride and Passion Linlithgow, and Transition Linlithgow. But despite a £20,000 offer from an anonymous investor this week, local support is desparately needed for the ambitious venture to take off.
David Tait, chairman of the trust, said: “There is not a moment to lose. We cannot afford to see any more of Linlithgow’s heritage rotting in a developer’s land bank.
“So we are looking for pledges of support from every member of the Linlithgow community who cares about this historic building and may wish to invest in Linlithgow’s future. The trust aims to transform the shell into a vibrant Linlithgow community hub, and we are open to all suggestions.”
Initial ideas include a family pub/restaurant, possibly the town museum on the first floor and space for meetings, dance and music practice on the top floor. It is hoped that surplus cash generated on the ground floor will help finance community activities on the upper floors.
The trust is determined to spread the word with a series of meetings with potential funders and stakeholders already lined up, a dedicated Facebook group and a website at http://starandgarter trust.wordpress.com
Ideas have already started coming in, with a microbrewery suggested on Wednesday.
The Prince’s Trust for Building Communities is supportive of the initiative in principle, and former Enterprise Minister Jim Mather who has been involved in the town in the past added: “As someone who believes in asset-based community recovery, I have no hesitation in supporting the community ownership of the Star and Garter, especially having seen the real proactive sense of community in Linlithgow first hand on several occasions.”
This is the first concrete move to resurrect the property at No.1 High Street after the Journal and Gazette reported last month that local groups in the town wanted the project adopted by the Linlithgow Community Development Trust (CDT). It was also published last February that no realistic offers for the three-storey property had been put in for the Star after it went on the market, following the fire in October 2010, that destroyed the interior. The former hotel’s finances then went into the care of liquidators.
Membership of the Star and Garter Trust is open to anyone with an interest in having the iconic property restored. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.