LINLITHGOW residents are up in arms as a large home is being built in one of the town’s most fiercely protected areas.
The new house at Parkhead Holdings is fast taking shape, and can be seen from Linlithgow Palace and Peel, which has angered locals who don’t understand why permission was ever given to build in such a sensitive area.
Helena Paul who stays in Linlithgow said: “It is a travesty that the councillors on the West Lothian Council’s development management committee saw fit to grant such an application.
“Planning policies exist to protect our landscape and communities from having inappropriate developments foisted upon them. Questions must be asked as to why the process is failing the residents of Linlithgow and the surrounding countryside.”
The planning application for the house, described as a bed and breakfast, was recommended for refusal by council officers but the committee decided against this last July. But residents are worried the build could start a precedent that would be detrimental to the town.
Another local resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I think it’s terrible that this has been allowed to happen. “It’s an absolute disgrace.
‘‘This is not your average B and B - it’s huge and there’s meant to be a swimming pool inside. How was it allowed? That is everybody’s question.”
Suggestions of foul play in the planning process have been dismissed as the decision to go ahead was made democratically by the council’s development management committee but questions remain.
This week, the Parkhead Holdings developers could not be contacted but it is thought they are also involved in plans for a home on the former roads depot site near Paddockhall.
Helena added: “This site is on a prominent location in open countryside. If allowed to proceed, the Paddockhall development will generate serious problems for road safety and the negative visual impact on the surrounding countryside and heritage landscape will be permanent and irreversible.
‘‘The councillors responsible for this fiasco work for us. Serious questions must be asked about how the planning process is being run in West Lothian Council.”
Helena added that more people needed to be aware of how they could influence the planning process. She said: “People need to look at planning applications when they are advertised, and use their democratic right to object.”
West Lothian Council said the decision had been made by the development management committee adding: “Committee members felt the establishment of a bed and breakfast facility would increase tourism in the area and be of local economic benefit.”