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Placemaking in Whitburn

A 'masterplan' has been finalised for Whitburn in December 2015 which outlines how to develop the town.

Placemaking in Whitburn

A 'masterplan' has been finalised for Whitburn in December 2015 which outlines how to develop the town.

Update: June 2017

Progress continues in taking forward the outcomes contained within the Placemaking in Whitburn Masterplan. This is being developed through the Whitburn Regeneration Advisory Group alongside the Whitburn Town Centre Management Group. Given the scale of the Masterplan, the necessary working partnerships are in place to further develop the various actions, and to pursue feasibility work and funding where appropriate. To date since the last reporting, highlights include:

Whitburn 'Place-branding'

Some small-scale funds are being provided which will undertake a project to develop branding for Whitburn and produce tangible outputs to promote a positive image of the town. The background to this was the desire of the Whitburn Regeneration Group, and in particular of the community groups, to see Whitburn promoted as an attractive place for people to do business, work and visit. Morrison Media has been appointed as the contractor for this work and will be starting over the next few weeks in close collaboration with the regeneration group.

Whitburn Heritage Trail

The Heritage Trail sub-group, which involves representatives from the community council and community development trust as well as retired local history librarian Sybil Cavanagh, is developing plans to move this forward. A community consultation on the idea has just recently concluded to help identify what the trail will consist of before being presented to the Heritage Lottery Fund for support.

Whitburn Regeneration Map

A map of green network has been developed for the town as shown in Appendix A. The purpose of this is to illustrate current main projects within the town using a map. This shows planned projects using existing resources and projects that are being actively pursued. It also includes reference to the partnership centre and planned gateways project, as well as the Heartlands. This is being used locally as a promotional tool. It was used at the Community Development Trust (CDT) community celebration event and a large display is in the CDT office window on Main Street.

Community Celebration Event

Whitburn & District Community Development Trust held a community celebration event on 29 April in Brucefield Church. The purpose of the event was for community groups and services within the community, including the council, to showcase what they do and provide an opportunity to engage with residents.  This went very well with 25 different services and groups having a presence with between 200-300 residents attending.

Town Centre Shopfront Improvement

Whitburn town centre traders and businesses continue to be eligible to apply for grant assistance through the Shopfront Improvement Scheme, to assist in costs associated with any external frontage improvements. Since the inception of the current operational scheme in autumn 2012, and at the time of writing this report, there have been a total of twenty-six approved grants and awards made. There remain a number of enquiries; with formal applications awaited and/or completion of works to be verified. The Shopfront Improvement Scheme is funded through the budget allocation from the Council's Whitburn Town Centre Improvement Fund.

There is similar grant assistance available to local indigenous retail businesses that are situated out with the prescribed town centre boundary, but are located within the settlement boundary of the town of Whitburn. To date, despite a number of enquiries there have been no applications received or grants awarded in Whitburn; although it is reported that seven awards in total have been made elsewhere in the ward; in East Whitburn and Blackburn. This particular shop front scheme element is funded through the budget allocation from the Council's Village Improvement Fund

'Twin Towns' - Ostwaldsitle (Lancashire) and Whitburn

As part of the Whitburn Traders and Whitburn & District Community Council twinning with Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, the Carnegie Trust UK Twin Town initiative is now progressing with community representatives the Stage 2 components of the twinning (e.g. local action plan) and looking at how these groups can be supported, and support/learn from each other (and local partners) to develop positive community initiatives ahead. As Local Elected Members will recall, this is an 18 month project, which commenced with the initial hosting of exchange familiarisation trips involving community representatives from both towns in March 2017.

Town Centre Shop Shutter Arts Project

Support continues to Whitburn Traders and facilitation of identified town centre enhancement projects. This includes additional officer support for their further submission to Council's 'Grassroots 2' Public Art Grant 2017/18, for their proposed Shop Shutters Mural initiative. At the time of writing this report, a decision is anticipated in July 2017. This project also has in principle support through the Whitburn Town Centre Improvement Fund.

Gap Sites

Council officers continue to engage with the relevant owners (and monitor the prospective actions) of vacant and under-utilised sites on West Main Street to establish future use intentions and entice physical improvement and bringing back to active economic or social use.

Operation Pinpoint: Whitburn Community Week

The Police are leading on undertaking this initiative which was initiated during the Civic Week in Whitburn in the lead up to the Gala Day on 24th June. This consisted of enforcement activity and surgeries from the Police and partners within the community but also supporting the civic week celebrations.

Placemaking in Whitburn

In March and April 2015, funding was provided by the Scottish Government and the council to undertake a town centre 'charrette' (an intensive planning and community engagement exercise) in Whitburn. This recognised that an approach that looked at the planned and potential investments for the town as a whole was required.

The purpose of the charrette was to integrate the various elements of planned investment and activity into a single cohesive masterplan for the area to:

  • maximise investment through providing decision-makers with an evidence based, holistic plan for the town to inform resource allocation and attract external funding;
  • create a shared vision for the town and wider Whitburn area, in particular, to inform planning for the town centre and partnership centre;
  • better link and integrate the Heartlands development and Polkemmet Country Park with the town centre; and
  • ensure effective community involvement in regenerating the Whitburn area, and provide a basis for future community engagement for the development of the town.

The full report  which was finalised in December 2015 is available here Placemaking_In_Whitburn_Final_Report_8_December_2015 . The report is split into two main parts:

  • Action Plan: This is based on the four themes which emerged at the outset of the charrette. This covers some aspects of the development framework but focuses on the other actions for council, Community Planning Partners and community organisations.
  • Development Framework: This is split into three parts: buildings, landscape and transport; and is intended to provide a comprehensive framework for moving forward and an ongoing reference point for funders and decision makers. The options are prioritised and references to them are made within the action plan.

Progress on the implementation of the masterplan will be reported to the meetings of the Whitburn and Blackburn Local Area Committee, the reports for which are available on COINS here http://coins.westlothian.gov.uk/coins/default.asp 

For further information contact Scott McKillop, Community Regeneration Officer, Area Services, West Lothian Council, Tel: 01506 281092 or Email:scott.mckillop@westlothian.gov.uk