The semi-derelict Victoria Hall that blights Linlithgow High Street could be returned to former glory as a cinema or theatre if new plans gain support.
The Linlithgow Building Trust has been created to transform the building from an eyesore into an asset for the town centre.
David Tait, Chris Cook and Ron Smith who ran the Star and Garter Trust last year until the hotel was bought over, are behind the new venture and have reached an agreement with owners, the Edinburgh-based Cortellessa family, to go ahead with what they have named the Jubilee Project.
David Tait said: “We will be consulting the community on how the site might best be developed and would like local folk to participate from the start. “We are hoping that the project will capture the imagination of everybody in Linlithgow – please get involved if you want to play a positive part in this exciting project.”
Over the next few months, the Trust will be approaching potential funders and procuring professional services. They have also produced sketch proposals for the building, and hope to discuss the outline plans with West Lothian Council, funders and local residents.
Ron Smith added: “We see the project creating a community theatre/cinema as the centrepiece of a kind of ‘creative hub’ with space for all kinds of events. There is scope for a pedestrian link through to the Peel and we are keen to see this flanked by small studios and outlets for local food produce.
“We would hope to retain at least the grand entrance archway in its present position and we envisage a High Street frontage composed of traditional shop units with flats above, and the rental income from these would help secure the long-term future of the ‘community’ elements of the scheme.”
In October 2008, the Journal and Gazette reported that architects EK:JN had unveiled million pound plans to remodel the High Street building, including two cafes, a restaurant, an internal courtyard, a family leisure area and a bowling alley, but they never became a reality.
Jon Newey of EK:JN architects confirmed they were still involved in the plans adding: “We are delighted to see the project starting to gain some forward momentum again.”
For those interested in getting involved, a project blog has been created at www.thejubileeproject.wordpress.com and the Linlithgow Building Trust can be contacted through the blog, or by emailing email@example.com