‘Eyesore’ halls in Linlithgow could be knocked down

Victoria Halls
Victoria Halls

An application has been lodged which could put an end to an “eyesore” in Linlithgow High Street and bring businesses and flats to the area.

Edinburgh firm Montreal Properties Ltd owns the long vacant Victoria Halls, which have been described as a blight on surroundings, and is looking to do away with the existing facade and construct either a retail business, a professional services establishment or a restaurant within two ground 
floor units.

The mixed use development would also include 22 one-bedroom flats at first, second and third floor levels.

Developers state the development would provide an economic boost for the town.

In their time the halls, built in 1889, have been a cinema and an amusement arcade, but have been abandoned and disused since the mid-1990s.

The Linlithgow Victoria Halls Trust, set up in 2013 to look into the redevelopment of the derelict buildings, had proposed turning the property into a community film theatre – a project which the owners claimed was “pie in the sky” back in April.

Trust spokesman Ron Smith said: “It’s been an eyesore in the High Street that needs redevelopment and if something could be done along the general lines of this planning application then that would be a good thing.

“But as we know planning permission does not necessarily mean anything will come of it, so we have 400 members in the trust and we will still be pursuing our own plans for the premises.”

Mr Smith said Montreal Properties Ltd’s application “needed a bit of work” when it came to the design to make it more “compatible” with the surrounding area. He also questioned bringing so many single bedroom flats to the area.

“If this does result in a quality development coming to Linlithgow,” added Mr Smith. “Then I think some credit should go to the Trust for stirring them into some kind of action.”

The final day for comments to be lodged with West Lothian Council on the plans is Friday, January 22.

Visit www.westlothian.gov.uk and search on the planning reference LIVE/0909/FUL/15 for more information on the plans.