Mike Vickers' Blog

December 24, 2011

Linlithgow – The Wallace Lands Proposal

Today it is Christmas Eve – good will to all men (and women of course).  The discussion on the Wallace Lands proposal  is now at 117 contributions  – a very fair number for a Linked-In Group (though still far short of a Leaders a& Thinkers group that I subscribe to that is up to 2968 contributions) and it may be worthwhile taking stock. Sorry my stock taking – you may disagree with it but then it’s a time of good will to all men!

  • Wallace Lands has parachuted in to develop a piece of land situated at Junction 3 on the M9 motorway.  Jason Wallace at a discussion with the Civic Trust made no bones about it; they are in to make money and that’s why they chose Linlithgow – not Winchburgh or Whitecross but Linlithgow – it’s a desirable place for middle class people to take up roots in central Scotland, not least because there’s a great free academy, it’s in easy commuting to Edinburgh and the airport
  • The proposal is not as Boghall east, just a retail park centred on a smallish supermarket but a whole development – retail park with larger supermarket and 600 houses in two phases.  The proposal would in effect create a suburb of Linlithgow analogous to Linlithgow Bridge
  • There is no doubt that the proposal is contrary to the existing West Lothian Local plan which has Linlithgow as an area of restraint.  The SESPlan has at the request of the Civic Trust removed the word ‘restraint’ ; but as Alan Brown points out restraint remains until the new Local Plan is approved which is not due till 2014 at the earliest
  • Another aspect that has been touched on in discussions has been that any such development at Junction 3 would stand out on the horizon.  Fortunately or unfortunately Linlithgow is constrained between the Bathgate Hills to the south and the Flint Hills to the north and without very careful planning any new development is going to be obtrusive
  • A key aspect of the proposal is the making of junction 3 up to four way.  Wallace Lands sell this as a benefit to the whole Linlithgow community but it would seem to be a necessary component of their overall proposal.  Jason Wallace stated that making up the junction is planned for the start of the development – but this contrasts to the item in the SESPlan for the developer to undertake it in 2025
  • Wallace Lands make the case that their development would be advantageous to the Town as a whole with 600 more residents to boost the economy.  This is unproven.  They also state that the proposal will generate jobs both during the development and in the Retail park once the development is complete; this is clearly true but whether these jobs are jobs for the local residents is again unproven
  • Jason Wallace at the meeting with the Civic Trust tabled a paper comparing their proposal with the Civic Trust Vision for 2010 -2030 with the intention of bringing out the similarities and there are undoubtedly some.  The Civic Trust vision recognises the inevitability of continued development of the Town; hence the removal of ‘restraint’ from the Local Plan, and this includes some houses at the east end of the Town.  The Vision also recognises the need for a new primary school in the area which the Wallace Proposal skates around.
  • However the Civic Trust Vision is for a controlled development throughout the whole of the Town and this is in contrast to the Wallace Proposal which is localised to the area round Junction 3.
  • A key unknown is the effect that a new supermarket at Junction 3 would have on the existing Tesco supermarket at the Regent Centre.  The assumption of most discussion items is that Tesco’s would vacate the Regent Centre losing an important anchor in the High Street.  Alan McMaster argues that the anchor is of no import – the ground could be cleared and converted into a nice park area with car park which would open up the High Street and the Palace to a wider visitor public.
  • So far as I have gleaned until very recently there have been few contributions as to what we hope for for the High Street and this reflect s back on what we hope for the future of the Town itself.  It is clear that the Civic Trust is right, even in these financially strained times, the Town will develop as witnessed by the enormous effect being put in by Wallace Lands to get buy in from the community for their proposal.
  • An informal meeting of Wallace Land Linked-Iners met last week to consider not only consider the Wallace Land proposal but also the more general development of the Town and future meetings are planned.  In parallel John Aitken, Chairman of the Civic Trust has offered to coordinate community views.  Some coming together would be advantageous
  • Alan Mitchell has made the comment that Wallace Lands has every right to make their proposal, as has the farmer to get the best price he can from the sale of his land.  That is the capitalist society we live in.  And while the Wallace Lands proposal is contrary to the Local Plan, I understand it is the duty of any Planning Authority to take forward planning applications rather than to sit in judgement on them – it is up to objectors to object if they wish.
  • A number of contributions have made the case that the Wallace Lands proposal will be limited to seeking outline planning application.  Given approval Wallace Lands will then seek individual developers for the supermarket, the hotel, the houses etc and whose individual objectives we are likely to have less influence than on Wallace Lands itself.
  • At this stage we await the formal planning application by Wallace Lands and once made it is up to all of us to review the application in detail and make our own submission to the Planning Authority.  It is clear that the Wallace Lands proposal has been well thought out as a commercial development but is it the right plan for Linlithgow as a thriving town?  I suggest the  Civic Trust’s Vision is more in keeping with the Town as it is, but the Civic Trust does not fund raising powers on its own.   And would the Town be worse off if only part of the Wallace Lands plan were to take place? (sorry I have lost that contribution)

Happy Christmas to all contributors.  The New Year will be very interesting for the Town.

March 18, 2011

Shopper Habits

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association, West Lothian Coffee Morning — derryvickers @ 9:05 pm
We had an interesting discussion this morning at the West Lothian Coffee Morning on shoppers’ habits.

Despite encouragement from the public authorities, the customers are no longer making for the High Street.   Views put forward were that High Street shops are no longer attractive, there is no easy access or free parking, and there is no opportunity to inspect the goods before purchase.  More telling, shop keepers are too committed to make a sale that they are unfriendly to the customer; in contrast staff in supermarkets come over as much more friendly because they are not involved in the commercial success of the enterprise.

High Street shops are not open on Sundays; they loose out not only to supermarkets but also to retail parks.  Retail parks in particular meet the growing need for social shopping – ‘what shall we do today (Sunday) Oh lets go to the New Town retail park’; such parks have filled the vacuum left by not going to church.

Supermarkets and Retail Parks have only arisen because of the ubiquity of the motor car – customers shop for a week or longer and pile it all into the car boot.  Supermarkets and retail parks have been able to cash in on cheap ‘Out of Town’ land and have been able to take advantage of the fact that customers will do anything to avoid paying for parking.

But all this is changing; customers are increasingly buying on-line, already major book sellers such as Borders who were well represented in retail parks have been driven out of business by such as Amazon and Amazon have long expanded their offerings to all types of goods.  Supermarkets such as Tesco’s have recognised the danger and offer to buy on-line.  But the downside of on-line purchaese is that the customer cannot look and feel the goods before purchase.

So it could be that we have gone full circle where there is a High Street shopping opportunity for quality goods that the customer can view, touch and savour and not necessarily buy on first acquaintance.  But this requires that High Street shop keepers need to recognise that customer cultivation is everything with a friendly face, a coffee area, extended hours and Sunday opening and above all don’t force the goods down the customers throats.  The pubs do its so why not the High Street shops, shop keepers need to take a leaf out of the shops at ski resorts .

Thanks again to my colleagues at the West Lothain Coffee Morning for the thought provoking discussion.  Why not come and join us every Friday from 8am at O’Briens, The Wintergarden, The Centre, Livingston.

October 27, 2010

Linlithgow Business Association – A Strategy

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 2:41 pm

I believe that the LBA needs a business strategy to define its raison d’etre.

I suggests the headings to be covered are:

  1. Introduction
    1. Strategy span 2010 – 2020
  2. Business in Linlithgow
    1. Present Day
    2. Position change over last 20 years
  3. Current climate for business development
    1. Impact of Public Service cuts

                                         i.    Manpower

                                       ii.    Capital

  1. Impact to manpower in Linlithgow
  2. Availability to private organisations
    1. Manpower

                                         i.    Skills

                                       ii.    Need for training

  1. Capital
  2. Commercial v Social Enterprise
    1. Difference is where the Profits go
  3. Current Businesses
    1. Size
    2. Type
  4. Map of Current Locations
  5.  Other Plans & Proposal
    1. WL Local Plan
    2. Civic Trust
    3. Climate Challenge
    4. Wallace Lands
  6. Growth Opportunities
    1. Identify

                                         i.    Which type

                                       ii.    Location

  1. Spread of estimates

10. Constraints

  1. Planning Authority
  2. Capital
  3. Community
  4. Environmental Impact

11. The Strategy

I welcome all your comments and particularly where I might start to get the data on existing businesses in the town and surrounding areas.

PS Great to see how Microsoft Word goes over so well to WordPress – so much better than LinkedIn

September 30, 2010

LBA Question Time 2010

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 2:57 pm

The Linlithgow Business Association held its annual question time on 29th September 2010 with the theme ‘Tough Choices’.  The title came from a consultative document issued by West Lothian Council on how  best to meet its target reduction in revenue from £380m to £320m by 2013.

Members of the panel were:

Cllr Peter Johnston, Leader of West Lothian Council,

Lesley Riddoch, Feisty Productions, BBC producer and presenter,

Jim Lindsay, General Manager, Airdrie Savings Bank,

Stephen Sweeney, FD, Campbells Prime Meats.

The Panel was chaired by Simon Walton, Specialists in cutting your bills at home and work.

The questions ranged across the whole gamut of cuts and what we could do about it.  A few of the ideas and comments from the meeting:

  • PJ considered that self help groups are better organised and more effective in  Linlithgow but this could be due to the fact that its population is more affluent
  • The Linlithgow Town Centre Management Groups is fuelling ideas for the town.  It is being taken as an example to other groups throughout the West Lothian Region
  • It would be suicide to re-establish Lothians Region at this time; nevertheless the current regions are now working together to see what activities are common and where savings may be made.  The fire services are one such
  • Nevertheless LR considered that the regions are presently neither big enough nor small enough.  Local should be local
  • Contractual procedures are too cumbersome and too open to all.  At a certain size they need to open to the whole EU.  Agreed that while Local is contractually not acceptable, “fresh” and “low mileage” could achieve the same effect
  • The Coalition’s ‘Big Society’ needed to be viewed with caution: it looks more like passing costs to the Social Sector.  It was often forgotten that the Social Enterprises are also businesses – its just that their ‘profits’ are distributed differently
  • There are other ways that small companies might survive eg Pay taxes through the provision of services.
  • So often businesses come up with novel ideas but their ideas fall on stony ground; and after a couple of different attempts they just give up: being ignored is worse than never having tried.  In this respect small isolated communities may fare better as they are on their own and the bureaucracy is too far away to stop them, LR instanced Eigg
  • Stewart Liddle on behalf of Linlithgow Union Canal Society  emphasised that their society provides a whole range of canal based activities with little external support
  • LR considers that Scotland falls behind England – Scotland is more conservative.  Scotland believes it is radical but it is not. She also considers Scotland is Skill Rich but Cash Poor
  • JL considered that it would not be feasible for Linlithgow to set up its own ‘Narrow Bank’ eg as the Airdrie Bank but considered creating a Credit Union would be valuable.  SS related his favourable experience of Credit Unions in Canada and PJ said that ones have been successfully set up in Livingston and Bathgate.  Development Trusts could be another way to raise and provide cash.
  • The point was made that Falkirk has a strong Business Panel where Public / Private Partnership looked to flourish; this was supported by SS where the Falkirk Council had been very supportive for Campbells Meats to take over the abandoned Abattoir following their fire in Broxburn. 
  • PJ emphasised the desire  of West Lothian Council to work with the private sector

The meeting finished with a rousing cheer and members and friends went away with lots to think about not least, I suggest, on how the many very active groups in the Town can pool their efforts for the common good.

September 12, 2010

The LBA – where we go from here

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 9:23 am

If the LBA is to continue it needs to engage its members and preferably engage them so much that they will want to participate in its activities.

Below I have sketched out a Mind Map of what I see we do and what are our strengths and weaknesses:  Green for Strengths and Red for Weaknesses.  Orange of course is our Opportunities.

Priorities are as I see them.  

I welcome your comments  on what you expect from the LBA.  Please take a few minutes NOW to let us know.

September 1, 2010

Linlithgow – Community Development

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association, Linlithgow Climate Change — derryvickers @ 9:34 pm

Financing a sustainable future for the town

The Town Centre Management Group hosted a presentation by Alan Caldwell, a consultant in community planning, regeneration and low carbon futures.  The meeting was well attended by members of the TCMG, the Climate Challenge Group, the LBA and a number of consultants.

Alan’s premise was that towns cannot expect funding for community development of any sort from the usual sources such as the Local Councils or even Central Government.

If Towns have projects they wish to pursue it is now a DIY exercise.  Towns must set up a formal organisation through which to do so.  Alan instances such a body as a Community Development Organisation (CDO). 

Alan sees that such CDOs will only succeed if they include five ‘ingredients’.  They are:

  1. Finance – they must have a good source of finance.  In the discussion Finance could take the form of a good Asset base which is income generating
  2. Organisation – this needs to have a legal and well understood and respected structure.  It needs to be manned by professionally qualified members.  These may be unpaid volunteers – Comrie was only one paid director, Alan.
  3. Planning – there needs to be a Strategic plan.  This is a must if finance is to be raised commercially.  Too often local groups are driven by emotionally charged individuals who are good at the Vision and at the day to day running of the group but miss out the Strategic Plan.
  4. Community involvement – a CDO needs to take the whole community with it.  Aspires was mentioned here.  Community involvement is likely to be through a number of working groups (I took this not necessarily the many informal groups that many towns have already)
  5. Partners – a CDO should establish a number of partnerships with private investors.   

Projects that Alan suggested were Renewable Energy and Land Projects.

Comments from the ‘jury’ included :

  • The basis of finance needs to be different in the 21st century than in previous ones.  Examples could be landowners making land available free provided that they received a revenue stream.  Supermarkets giving shares in lieu of pension provision.  Debt is to be avoided
  • The difficulty of persuading existing groups to release control and ownership in favour of an embracing CDO
  • Are OSCAR and the Inland Revenue fully bought into the CDO business approach.  Alan said Yes
  • Clarendon House and the Venal are two possible land development projects already identified by the Civic Trust.

 

Hazel Hay will produce formal notes but my first impressions are:

  1. Apart from the projects identified by the Civic Trust there are no obvious large projects in Linlithgow.  Climate Challenge would say that reducing carbon is one but this is a concept rather than a project per se.  Wind generation has been mentioned but all sites have been dismissed so far as unsuitable.  A community bank has been proposed and this would be valuable if a number of significant assets were to be acquired but we are back to the lack of large projects to provide the base
  2. A CDO needs to support the whole community but Linlithgow is dominated by very active specialist groups who are unlikely to surrender their sovereignty readily.  This has been amply demonstrated by Linlithgow Aspires.
  3. Emphasis at this stage is too much on low carbon.  Sustainable commercial business has a place too.

June 26, 2010

Tough Choices (West Lothian Council Proposals)

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 8:16 pm

As I read the Tough Choice figures the comparison of expenditure (£,000)  2010/11 with 2103/14 is

  2010/11 2013/14 % Saving
Partnerships& resources 19,975 16398 17.91
Education 146238 138006 5.63
Culture & Leisure 15,165 12664 16.49
Social Policy 81,620 77462 5.09
Health & Care 1,169 941 19.5
Voluntary Organisations 4,074 3,505 13.97
Services for the Community 2,594 1,958 24.52
Environment 48,155 42,023 12.73
Development & Transport 9,008 6,991 22.39
Total 327,998 299,948 8.55

 

Looking at these figures the highest expenditure is for education followed by social policy. 

Workers in both these areas are already ‘outsourced’ and are much less amenable for 4 day working.

Also note that these are the least cut.  Service for the Community and Transport and development come out worst

June 25, 2010

Linlithgow in 20 years

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 1:53 pm

The Linlithgow Civic Trust is in the final stages of publishing their new Vision for Linlithgow – see draft for discussion http://www.lct.org.uk/planning/vision2.htm.  The Vision is a fine, well planned and thought out document.  It looks forward to how Linlithgow may continue to be the tourist ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of West Lothian yet accommodate the ever pressing demand for new housing.  Its planning horizon is 20 years.  I for one am ambivalent as to how much the world will change in the next 20 years and how much such change will impact on Linlithgow.

Drivers for changes I foresee are:

  1. The potential collapse of the world’s financial system particularly as it affects the West and the unhealthy dependence of the UK economy on it
  2. The dependence of the world and again the West in particular on cheap energy and the demise of oil and gas as an energy source.  Oil of course is the major source of plastics and what we will now do without them
  3. The rise of China, India and Brazil as capitalist wealth creators but also as energy consumers.  China in particular is using its increasing clout to dominate such continents as Africa – up to recently the preserve of Western Europe
  4. The impact of climate change which will undoubtedly be horrendous although increasingly brushed under the carpet at the G20
  5. Potable water is getting increasingly scarce.  This is due to the inexorable increase in world population and to the increase in world temperature from climate change.  This of course leads to an increasing scarcity of food
  6. The sheer impact of ICT (Information & Communications Technology) on how we communicate with one another

A few will deny these drivers but I suggest most won’t.  They will however suggest that change happens slowly and they have much to support this view over the last 50 years, atmospheric CO2 being one exception.  A key writer in my past has been the late Stephen Jay Gould,  evolutionary biologist and historian of science who had a theory called punctuated equilibrium where evolution proceeds with long periods of stasis followed periods of  rapid change.  I have a great deal of empathy with this theory: who can remember the ubiquity of the coal mining industry in the UK? And what about Clyde Bank where even Irn Bru is no longer made from girders.

So if we assume that the drivers to change are there, how might they affect Scotland and Linlithgow? 

  1. The UK economy has bankrupted itself bailing out the two banks both based in Edinburgh.  This must affect jobs and commuters in Linlithgow
  2. More expensive energy and scarcity of oil will make living away from work an increasing  burden
  3. The economic and manufacturing power house of the East and South will increasingly take away the remaining jobs in the West.  Finance may remain with us the longest
  4. Land prices in desirable countries such as Scotland may shoot up yet immigration, legal and illegal,  from underdeveloped countries may start in real earnest
  5. On the other hand we will be increasingly able to work from home rather than commuting daily to Edinburgh and Glasgow
  6. Jon Newey regularly points out that it’s not the supermarkets that undermine the High Street shops but  Internet shopping.

So back to the start, what do you think are the powerful drivers to change that will radically change we live and work in Linlithgow and when will they start to bite? 

Interestingly the same question was put to the s2 pupils at the Academy and they came up with many different views.  Most were eco friendly with energy from solar and wind power, some had a pedestrianised High Street and most considered the Palace would still be there.

Any new post graduate in Geography who is looking for a thesis which could have real impact on our lives?

June 8, 2010

Linlithgow – A Vision 2010 – 2030

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association — derryvickers @ 10:18 am

The Linlithgow Civic Trust, in coming forward with A Vision for Linlithgow 2010-2030, has set itself a difficult task – the last version was only for 10 years.  Most of us can see the next 5 years – it will be much as now; a few of us may speculate what may happen in 40 years ie to 2050 but it is clear that it will be very different from now – think 40 years back and air travel was just for a few; to go to a far country we went by ship.  We could not have imagined the PC, the Internet and their impact on all our lives even thirty years ago.  On the other hand no one has since walked on the Moon.  But 20 years! 

I was privileged to talk with Derek Halden, a transport consultant who lives in Linlithgow, and he had presented the S2 year pupils of the Linlithgow Academy three PowerPoint slides as part of getting them to think what would Linlithgow be like in 2050 and how they could contribute to it.  Simply:

  • Slide 1 illustrates that pre 1800 our economy was based on ‘land and labour’ between 1800 and 2050 it was based on ‘Production and Consumption’ but now it is based on ‘Knowledge and Experience’. 
  • You could argue with Slide 1 being too simplistic but it is  much more difficult to argue against Slide 2 which shows that Peak Oil was at 2000 and oil production is already 25% down from the peak
  • And Slide 3 shows that the hectares per capita in 1950 was 5.15, in 2005 it was 2.02 and the estimate for 2050 if will be down to 1.14

Derek also pricked another of my preconceptions that Rail travel is environmentally friendly.  In his opinion in order of decreasing C0 2, Rail is the highest, then comes Bus, then Aircraft and then Car.  When working out C0 2 you have to take account of the total C0 2 production and that includes the making the rails and all the other infrastructure.  (He has subsequently modified his view in that if the infrastructure is there already better to use it.)  As a rail buff I don’t take all of this; looking the other way round – taking Service as a criterion rail and buses provide a service to the community, aircraft less so if you take Ryan Air as a model and cars no service at all to the community.   Yes, cars will not be petrol powered – they will be electric powered.  I commend to you the MIT Smart City 2020 car – more like a souped up supermarket Trolley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLeLCzwlraw) – you buy the right to use one as and when.  

 So to the Vision.   

The Vision is very much in the 5 years plus mould – more of the same as the last 20 years.   And this may right.  The Vision accepts that the town will grow whether we like it or not so let’s make the best of it.  I wholly commend the sheer detail that has gone into preparing the Draft.  Clearly Ron Smith has been at work!

However I note that the LCT website states that the Civic Trust ‘aims to encourage the conservation of the town’s built and natural heritage’. Not much about ‘growth’

If I paraphrase the comments so far (and for this I apologise in advance)

  • Some want no development – very much in the spirit of the Aims
  • Others also wants no development in Linlithgow itself but propose a New Linlithgow out East
  • Climate Challenges view is that the town must become more environmentally sustainable.  However it remains unclear as to what effect this will have on the conservation of the fabric or on town growth.

To repeat, 20 years is very difficult to forecast for.

First I would find it valuable for an appendix to the 2010-2030 Vision, listing the changes that have taken place since the last Vision 2005-2015.  I know changes are largely embedded in the text, but it would be nice to have it in one place.

So if I put a finger in the air what do I see in the next 20 – 40 years for Linlithgow:

  1. The Palace will still be here largely untouched.
  2. The High Street will change its face as land prices in Linlithgow continue to rise and commercial organisations vi for a space, unfortunately driving out the smaller organisations such as shop keepers
  3. I can see an underground car park but cars will be electric and more of the MIT Smart City 2020 car type. 
  4. The town will be bypassed with a full motorway junction at Burghmuir
  5. An idea I would foster, NIMBY-like, is to move the main station to White Cross where 1500 houses are planned and to re-open the rail branch to Bo’Ness to passenger traffic.  There is no lack of rail space there.   Yes Linlithgow station to remain but only for stopping services from Dunblane
  6. But will there be so much commuting to Edinburgh and Glasgow? I doubt it – transport will be increasingly expensive.  Electronic communication will increasingly take over the need for office working in large cities.  OK there is still a need to fly.
  7. I’m very pleased with the beefed up section in the Vision on Business and Employment.  For Sheriff Court House read Bus Station. Also why not lease space from Sun / Oracle as high tech area. It does seem to me that unless Scotland becomes a design centre for the World we will increasingly become a 2nd or 3rd rate country.  And why not Linlithgow as a key design centre for Scotland?
  8. Will be more cosmopolitan – I thing Yes
  9. Will Linlithgow have a good social balance between all members of society?  The Vision again reiterates the need for social housing and this is right but where to put it.  In a New Linlithgow as one comment suggests.  Geography remains one of Linlithgow’s problems.  If the hill sides are not to be cluttered, development is East West so geography might dictate expansion towards White Cross – heaven forbid that’s Falkirk District
  10. But will we still be controlled from Livingston?  – I doubt it

Sorry, I realise I am well off the point.  The Vision is a great document for the next 5 to 10 years and will need revision again in 5 years time when the money becomes clearer and the balance between social and commercial expenditure sorts itself out.  As Derek Halden also says we don’t only need environmental sustainability, we must have economic sustainability also.

Finally there will need to be a lot more working together between all parties in Linlithgow and if the Vision is a catalyst so much the better.

April 18, 2010

Linlithgow accepts the Future City Game Challenge

Filed under: Linlithgow Business Association, Linlithgow Climate Change — derryvickers @ 8:08 pm

Five teams, drawn from across the whole Linlithgow community, took part in The Future City Game held on 24th March under the auspices of the British Council and the guidance of Architecture + Design Scotland.  The Game was generously hosted by Sun / Oracle and has facilitated by Monika Komarowska specially flown in from Warsaw.  Monika had already run 7 successful games across Europe.

The Game normally takes three days but we packed it into a hectic one day.  We started with briefings on Linlithgow as it is at present and its immediate future and what we might have to cope with in 2035 where energy costs could be 10 times what they are today. 

The five teams:

  • sat down to work for each to come up with a solutions as to how the Linlithgow community will cope, sustain and prosper in what will be extremely challenging circumstances.  Needless to say the teams came up with very varying solutions but all featured self sufficiency. 
  • solutions were then subjected to examination by three teams of local experts; business, community and one from the Academy.  The Academy students are of course the most interested of all of us as to life in 2035.
  • presented their solutions to everyone and we all had a chance to vote.

The five teams’ solutions were:

Orange Team   LIFT – Linlithgow Investment Futures Trust – a revolving trust kick started from energy savings and maintained by funds from the community whether business start-ups, Celebrate Linlithgow, natural resources for energy generation, or just investments by the community at large

Yellow Team   Eco Zone – led by ‘the young voice’ with the community providing them with more facilities and entertainment all eco friendly

Red Team       Linlithgow Enterprise Park – creating an enterprise park to encourage talent to stay in Linlithgow.  Built on the North of the Loch so that business is separated from the historic centre which is pedestrianised

Blue Team       Live local Linlithgow – being self sufficient in energy and food, managing waste and focusing on public transport

Green Team    The Living Room – creating a HUB at the heart of the town, making the Cross a place where the whole community, young and old feel at home in its ‘living room’

The winning team – Yes it’s the Orange Team with its revolving trust.  The concept will now be taken forward and hopefully lead to a full feasibility study which could evolve into a Development Trust as created by North Harris, Eigg and Tiree.  In such a trust all members of the Linlithgow community would be eligible to one vote and a trust board would be elected to represent the interests of the community and oversee the operation of the trust and the distribution of the funds.

One interesting point, although LIFT was the winner, all solutions offer a way forward for Linlithgow and are largely complementary and should be viewed sympathetically by the Linlithgow Aspires Project.

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