Trust demands delay on Vennel consultation

Civic Trust chairperson Marilyne MacLaren at The Vennel. Picture: Michael Gillen
Civic Trust chairperson Marilyne MacLaren at The Vennel. Picture: Michael Gillen

Linlithgow Civic Trust has written to the council to demand it delays a consultation on the future of an area of controversy in the town.

West Lothian Council has begun a public consultation on proposals to redevelop The Vennel, but the trust isn’t happy with the timing of the exercise and wants it to take place later in the summer.

Plans are being drafted to completely refurbish the site on the north side of Linlithgow High Street, which could include commercial and retail opportunities, tourism facilities and community and outdoor space. The trust also believes the proposals are “too vague”.

Trust chairperson Marilyne MacLaren said: “West Lothian Council has chosen the two key holiday months for families, namely July and August, to ask residents for their views. This is complete madness and shows a blatant disregard for the community.

“The Vennel area is a historic, iconic and important location for Linlithgow, comprising the loch, High Street, the Cross and the neighbouring Palace and St Michael’s Church.

“Any new development needs careful and sensitive planning and many residents will have their own views on what the future development should look like.”

A council spokesman said: “An extended consultation period is planned since it will take place partly over the holiday period. This should ensure that individuals and groups have the opportunity to make comments.

“The council will also extend the period if any group can reasonably demonstrate that it hasn’t been possible to respond within the consultation period.

“We would emphasise that the guidance aims to stimulate interest, debate and comment. All comments received will be welcomed and reviewed by the council, and thereafter inform the future of The Vennel area.”