LINLITHGOW bus depot is on the way out of town as services are re-routed and the site is in the process of being sold.
It was confirmed this week that the First Bus depot on the High Street would cease to be operational from November 19, with services relocated to Larbert and Livingston, and 45 members of staff leaving the town.
Paul Thomas, managing director at First Scotland East, said: “I can confirm that following a major review of our operations, we intend to move out of our depot at Linlithgow. We hope to have vacated the property by November 19, 2012.
“I can assure customers that this decision will not greatly impact on any of the services we currently operate in the area. Operations, including vehicles, equipment and our staff, will transfer to a combination of our Larbert and Livingston depots. Services 43/X43/X4 will operate from our Livingston depot and from this date, these services will operate exact fare only so no change will be given on these vehicles.”
On the Linlithgow depot, he added: “We are in advance discussions with a third party about this site. An announcement will be made in due course about the future of the depot.”
Rumours that the Linlithgow base would become a site for disused buses while a buyer was sought led to some local fears that the prime spot could become a bus graveyard.
Linlithgow councillor Martyn Day said he was keen to see the former depot site developed for the good of the town.
He said: “We don’t want a bus graveyard – I’d like to see something that puts vibrancy back into the High Street and fits in with the traditional look of the town. I was disappointed when the McCarthy and Stone planning application got withdrawn earlier in the year – hopefully something like that could be put back on track.
“But at the moment, it is shrouded in secrecy – we don’t know what is happening.”
Last February, the Journal and Gazette reported that plans for a multi-million pound retirement complex from developers McCarthy and Stone for the depot site had to be scrapped after relocation plans from First Bus fell through.
Designs had been drawn up for the 41 apartment complex for the over-60s a year before, as the transport company put the site on the market and made moves to relocate. Plans also included two ground floor retail units facing the High Street.
But First Bus decided to retain the site, and McCarthy and Stone’s plans hit the wall.
As the Journal and Gazette went to press, the bus depot’s potential buyer remained a mystery.
Provost Tom Kerr said: “I have heard that the depot has been sold but I don’t think they have concluded the missives on it yet. We have no information on the potential buyer, but I think it’s very unlikely the depot will become a bus graveyard.
“Without prejudicing any future application, the previous McCarthy and Stone plans looked like a vast improvement on what is currently there.”
This week the Linlithgow BIDs project confirmed they were looking at the site for use as potential offices but were unaware of a new buyer.
Nick Davis of Linlithgow Community Council said the group would maintain a watching brief on the site.