Petition set-up to save Linlithgow hedge and wildflower garden from bulldozers

A local wildlife enthusiast and community gardener is stepping up his campaign to save a hedgerow and wildflower garden from the bulldozers.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 4:56 pm
Simon Whitworth at the Deanburn Verge.

Simon Whitworth, from Linlithgow, has helped cultivate and maintain Deanburn Verge, near his home, for several years, but it is now threatened by a proposed road to a CALA Homes development.

He said: “The strip the garden sits on is not owned by the developer or council, and the Scottish Government showed us designs putting the road away from it.”

In the recent West Lothian Council Development Management Committee meeting, councillors agreed with residents that the access road was in a problem location and deferred planning consent.

“This gives us a great opportunity to save Deanburn Verge for future generations and have it as part of wider public greenspace. The council and CALA should be as passionate about saving it as we are,” adds Simon.

He has set up a change.org petition which gained over 170 supporters in just its first weekend. You can find Simon’s petition at http://chng.it/rTsd5LxjfB.

"It’s wonderful so many people care as much as I do about our wildlife,” he added.

The planning authority will discuss the application at its next monthly meeting.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The impact on the verge cannot be confirmed until discussions on the realignment of the access have been concluded. However, if planning permission is granted, conditions requiring appropriate replanting are proposed.

“The outcome of these discussions will be reported to a future meeting of the Development Management Committee for a decision.”

Gillian Tait, planning and design director with CALA Homes (East), said: “We understand and respect the desire of those wishing to retain the Deanburn verge and its hedge and agree fully with their intent - to boost biodiversity and wildlife.

"Our initial plans took the hedge into account and sought to retain it - and a junction to the site will still not cut across the verge. Pedestrian safety is of critical importance - and the council wishes to form a footway over the location."

She added that CALA Homes plans to provide an alternative green space for the local community.

She said: "Ultimately, the hedge is planted in a verge that contains electricity cables that serve street lights - so regardless of our involvement - its long-term retention would be at risk.

"To provide a green space that the community can call its own, we are working with expert ecologists and our new proposals at Preston Farm include a 3600 square meter open space adjacent to Deanburn Road.

"Extensive planting will see purposefully-chosen native trees and shrubs planted to promote birds, pollinating insects and cover for badgers. This will be accessible to all local residents.

“Ahead of the deferred committee we are now underway reviewing options for the proposed relocation of the junction - and will be doing everything we can to ensure it minimises impact on neighbours while protecting road users and pedestrians."