Locals remain unhappy at West Lothian Council’s plans to buy land at Lady Park in Linlithgow, with fears the land could be sold to developers in the future.
John Sommerville of St Ninians Road, raised concerns that only two of the six members on the Lady Park Trust live locally, and could therefore be out-voted in any future decision on the land.
He said: “We require a strong Lady Park Trust committee who have a majority say in the future of the land.
“I propose that the trust should have a majority of four people, each with a property located adjacent to Lady Park. And to that end I would suggest that two current trustees resign and be replaced.”
The local authority is to start a Compulsory Purchase Order to buy a strip of land to replace a section of the footpath currently sited around Linlithgow Loch with a new tarred path. The council’s NETs Land and Countryside department won planning permission in September to build a new tarred path, six and half feet (two metres) wide and running for almost 600 feet through the lower section of Lady Park.
Mr Sommerville, who has written to the Lady Park Trust, said: “My worry is that there is absolutely no need to encroach on the park with the path.
“The only reason I can think of is to sell the land in the future for development. I think there is hanky-panky going on, or at least greasing the way for something to happen.”
A West Lothian Council spokesperson, who could not comment on the trustees, said: “As a last resort, we intend applying for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to allow us to purchase the minimum land required for a replacement public footpath through Lady Park in Linlithgow.
“The current footpath is not currently adopted by the council, so is not regularly maintained, with the location liable to future erosion into Linlithgow Loch. It is also a very popular and busy part of the round Linlithgow Loch walk
“A successful CPO would allow us to build a new two metre wide replacement path that will greatly improve access along the west shore of Linlithgow Loch. The two metre wide path is required to give enough access for two wheelchairs to pass each other and is the same width as the connecting path on the south shore of the Loch at Town Bay.
“The revised route of the path has been chosen to avoid interfering with any mature trees and also allows footpath drainage to be improved, and the council would adopt and maintain the path going forward. By relocating the path further inland, the impact of rare flood events and the level of disturbance to wildlife will both potentially be reduced.
“The council has no plans or aspirations to develop this area, which is protected under the Local Development Plan, adopted by the council in September 2018, as Land Safeguarded for Open Space.”