IF ALL goes to plan the Star and Garter will open for business on Saturday, June 1.
Linlithgow’s most prestigious landmark at No.1 the High Street now has an impressive new roof and work on the interior begins next week.
In August we reported that local businessman David Kennedy had taken on the resurrection of the building, destroyed by fire in October 2010.
This week David said: “Our date for opening is June 1 and might be sooner but we don’t know what hiccups may crop up along the way.”
New health and safety regulations meant the team had to factor in new fire walls and a sprinkler system but a grand re-opening next summer is still on track. The new roof has paved the way for work to start on the interior walls, plumbing and wiring.
David added: “This is the Rolls Royce of roofs - we sourced the second hand slate ourselves and it’s been done to the very highest of standards.”
Enthusiastic David is still enjoying the project he took on with local business partner Ross Wilkie, adding: “I’m still really excited about it. We only have one chance to get this right.
“Ross has had experience running pubs so that’s what he’ll be doing, whereas it’s more likely I’ll be all over the place changing bulbs etc, and talking to people. I’ll also be looking at future events like theme nights and having tribute bands play.”
Detailed plans for the project were submitted to West Lothian Council planners last week for approval, including an outside terrace, a new cafe bar, a redesigned interior bar and restaurant, a function suite on the first floor with High Street views and five quality bedroom suites on the second.
David and Ross also want to put their own unique stamp on the 1759 hotel, which includes a micro-brewery for the site.
David of Lovells’ Glen said: “The micro-brewery is a must for us.
‘‘It’s aesthetically pleasing and the stainless steel vat brewing beer will be visible through glass walls.
‘‘We are looking at producing a couple of local beers brewed in-house and if we have a particularly dark brew, it could always become the Black Bitch brew.”
As for a theme, David’s big passion is Scottish history.
He added: “Both Ross and I are fans and I think the Enlightenment is one of the most incredible times in history.
‘‘So much came out of Scotland. Some pubs are themed around sports but ours will be the Scottish Enlightenment.”
To carry on the theme, David is looking at naming rooms after key players from the period such as James Hutton and Adam Smith.
He added: “I’ve decided on traditional baronial style for the function room and we’ll have pictures on the same theme. For both of us, it’s fun and I’m enjoying it.”
David will not disclose the amount spent on the project but based on previous turnover, it is hoped the pub will be worth around £1.5 million when complete.
Local architect Thom Pollock is working on the project and he said: “This is quite a special project to be working on. Everyone was hopeful for a good outcome for the Star and Garter and David’s aspirations for it being a facility for the town have met these expectations. It’s good for the community.”
Local groups are also delighted at the progress being made on the town’s landmark.
Iain Paton, spokesman for Linlithgow Civic Trust, said: “The civic trust is delighted at the prospect of the Star and Garter being restored to its community and social role, particularly as the proposed design is in keeping with the building’s historic past and offers additional attractions of a new cafe and microbrewery.”