Fresh setback for garden project in Linlithgow

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A volunteer project to create a memorial peace garden in Linlithgow has now just one month to show it can consult the public as required .

The plan, which is earmarked for the town’s rose garden, aims to create a haven of peace in a freshly landscaped space.

It has drawn its inspiration from a similar model in the troubled setting of Palestine and is also intended to be dementia-friendly.

However, a bitter row about tree felling and access has sparked a litany of complaints from a number of locals who claim that the garden’s backers have denied the public a chance to express their wishes.

And five turned up in person at a recent meeting of West Lothian council’s Development Management Committee to say so – as a Linlithgow Garden Peace Group Steering Group’s Marilyne MacLaren lobbied on behalf of members.

However, the council was not persuaded – as members refused to believe that the wider population of Linlithgow was on board.

A council spokesman confirmed: “The committee unanimously decided to agree to continue the application for two cycles to allow for further dialogue between the Linlithgow Peace Garden Steering Group and members of the community.

“This period should allow for further consultation on the proposals before the application is back in front of the Committee.”

The process is working to a tight timetable as it should form the basis of papers which must be submitted by Wednesday, September, 26.

And it has been confirmed that the decision will be made on Wednesday, October 3.

One objector attending was Ken Macdonald, whose property borders the garden and who wants other sites considered.

He also revealed that objectors have founded their own Facebook group in turn called Friends of the Rose Garden – and that they met with a new member of the steering committee, Reverend Christine Barclay at the weekend.

Mr Macdonald said: “It was a positive meeting and Reverend Barclay was eager to listen to what our objections had been.

“The next step is to meet with the rest of the steering group and for people to have their say.”

A spokesperson for the steering group insisted:“We are continuing to make plans for a full community consultation on the proposed Peace Garden.

“It is important that this exercise is well publicised and thorough, and we look forward to hearing people’s views and suggestions.”