Towns WILL be put at risk by Burghmuir

Generic shot of Linlithgow town centre.
Generic shot of Linlithgow town centre.

PLANS to develop Burghmuir pose a significant threat to Linlithgow and Bo’ness town centres, a report said this week.

An independent retail impact analysis, commissioned by West Lothian Council, looked at the impact the £90m Burghmuir development including 600 homes and a supermarket would have on Linlithgow and Bo’ness town centres. It also considered the cumulative effect on both communities if the Burghmuir development and plans for a Tesco extension at the Regent Centre went ahead.

The report by Roderick MacLean Associates states: “There is no scope for accommodating both the proposed Regent Centre extension and the proposed supermarket at Burghmuir, because there is insufficient expenditure capacity. If both were 
developed, the vitality and viability of Linlithgow and Bo’ness town centres would be threatened.”

But it also concluded that even without the Tesco 
extension, the proposed Burghmuir supermarket would still threaten both town centres. The report criticised Wallace Land’s own retail assessment by consultants James Barr as not being a “reasonable guide” as it did not include the Regent 
Centre proposals, or take into account significant undertrading in both towns, which heightens retail impact.

Nicholas Leonard, chair of Linlithgow Against Supermarket Development, welcomed the new analysis, adding: “This report confirms that an out of town 
supermarket would pose a major risk to the town centres of both Linlithgow and Bo’ness. “We hope that Wallace Land will now withdraw its planning application.”

The report also estimated there would be a ‘high’ 26 per cent trade impact on 
Linlithgow if the supermarket went ahead.

A Wallace Land spokesman said they were still considering the content of the report, adding: “The report agrees with us that there are deficiencies in main food shopping provision in Linlithgow and Bo’ness. However, we do not share the view that the proposed development will have an unacceptable impact on the town centre.”

The earliest a decision can be made on the Wallace Land plans including 600 homes, a supermarket, hotel and care home would be March 20.