Unfinished Linlithgow site slammed

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Retirement homes builder McCarthy and Stone has been accused of “corporate vandalism” by a senior West Lothian councillor .

The no-holds-barred accusation was deployed by Linlithgow councillor Tom Conn as a builder claimed to have reached agreement to begin repairs at the controversial High Street site.

The council’s Head of Planning, Craig McCorriston was at the latest meeting of the Linlithgow Local Area Committee to provide an update.

The company won planning permission to develop the site in 2013.

When building work started the existing frontage was demolished and ground stability problems meant neighbouring properties had to be shored up.

The firm now says the site cannot be fully developed and has suggested that it be turned into open space by the council.

Mr McCorriston said the council was still awaiting details from the builders on the nature of the unsuitability of the site.

An irate Councillor Conn said : “It’s basically corporate vandalism.

“They’ve caused the problem in the middle of an historic Scottish burgh and they have just walked away.

“This is a national company with the resources to fix this. They should be ashamed.

“It has been a bad site for them, there’s no doubt but they should not just walk away.”

Councillor David Tait told the meeting that there was no problem which could not be solved by engineering but the firm simply was not interested.

He added: “They have never done any significant testing, they never came forward with any engineering solutions. It just comes down to money. They are at it.”

Jonathan Fair, regional managing director for McCarthy & Stone, said the company had now secured all the necessary approvals to commence key structural repairs and reinstatement of the damaged neighbouring property to the Templars Court development.

He said: “We’re appointing a specialist contractor to carry out those works on our behalf and anticipate starting on site very soon.

“Once this is complete, we’ll be able to remove the temporary timber raking shoring within the remaining front part of our development.

“Thereafter we’ll be able to finalise our position in relation to the undeveloped part of our development and we’ll keep customers, neighbours and community representatives informed.”