Victoria Halls historical timeline

Victoria Hall, Linlithgow
Victoria Hall, Linlithgow

The dilapidated Victoria Halls on Linlithgow High Street appears to have hit yet another stumbling block in the plans for a complete renovation.

It was reported in July of last year that Linlithgow Building Trust, thereafter known as the Victoria Halls Trust, had been created to transform the eyesore into something resembling its former glory.

An agreement with the building’s owner, Edinburgh-based G & L Properties, had been reached for a period of six months which expired on January 1 this year.

Last week, the Trust used social media to inform its followers: “Good meeting last night and we had good news as the owner is keen on our joint venture, so full steam ahead!”

The Journal and Gazette also received an email stating: “The first meeting of the Trust in the New Year brought uplifting news that the owner is happy to enter into a joint venture to develop the site.

“This was welcome news and has spurred the Trust on with its fundraising effort.

“We only require a further £700 to reach our first milestone target.”

In a bid to clarify the situation, the Journal and Gazette spoke to G & L Properties which advised us it had no current agreement in force with the Trust.

The firm’s John Cortellessa said: “Unfortunately, the last agreement between ourselves, as the building’s owners, and the Victoria Halls Trust expired on January 1.

“We have no intention of renewing that agreement until such time the Trust can produce realistic plans and proposals which are not just pie in the sky.

“As owners we expected to be kept in the loop. However, there has been literally no contact whatsoever with the Trust’s representatives.

“We’ve been very concerned with the use of social media to exploit the situation – comments have been made that were quite simply false and misleading.

“We permitted a six-month agreement in order that all parties could ascertain what could be done with the 
building, with a view to it remaining as an asset to Linlithgow.”

The Trust advised the Journal and Gazette, in an email dated January 25, that there was an agreement in place.

David Tait, of the Victoria Halls Trust, said: “We have an agreement. At our last meeting in December both parties were enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to set up a joint venture and we are working towards putting that in place.

“We now have sufficient funds and pledges to commission the feasibility study, which will be done after our next round of discussions with the owner.”