LINLITHGOW could benefit from a £20,000 cash drop set to snowball into further investment if a council vote goes the town’s way next week.
The Journal and Gazette can exclusively reveal that West Lothian Council is poised to launch an innovative new pilot scheme that would involve leasing land to the newly created Linlithgow Community Development Trust (CDT) and set them up with £20,000 to kick start community projects.
The first project to be tackled would be the development of sports and community facilities on the council-owned site at Kettilstoun Mains.
Over the past few years, various groups, including the Scouts and football teams have come forward with ideas for the 17.86 acre site next to the Xcite leisure centre. As a project taken on by the Trust, work would focus on community football facilities and allotments, but there is room for ideas from other groups.
The pilot plans will be voted on next Tuesday at a council meeting and could blaze a trail for other local communities looking to develop similar trusts agreements.
Council leader John McGinty said: “This is an exciting project for Linlithgow that will hopefully bring a number of benefits to the community.
‘‘There is still a lot of hard work to be done but if the council executive does approve the plans it would certainly be a landmark step for both the council and the new Linlithgow Community Development Trust.
He added: “In the right circumstances, the transfer of council assets to local community-led organisations is something that the council views as a positive development.
‘‘The creation of the Linlithgow CDT and the £20,000 investment would be used as a pilot to allow the council to look at how other CDTs could be developed across other areas of West Lothian.”
If the plans are approved, the Linlithgow CDT will develop the proposals with the local community and prepare a business plan.
The move could bring thousands of pounds of further investment into the royal burgh.
Linlithgow councillor Tom Conn said: “This is an exciting development.
‘’We now have a site, but we now need people to come forward that have an interest in it.
‘‘We have had discussions with the Scouts, football teams and allotment groups but this is also open to other groups that can see an opportunity here.
“This is a way to create facilities for the 21st century and a legacy for Linlithgow and could be a model for West Lothian that people look to in the future.”
The council is also developing a community asset transfer policy which could see other council owned assets leased to local groups, where benefits for locals can clearly be demonstrated.
If the Linlithgow plans are given the green light next Tuesday, there will be a launch event led by the CDT early next year where local groups, will be able to find out more about getting involved.
A Facebook page has been set up at www.facebook.com/TrustLinlithgow with a website in the pipeline.