Blaze-hit Star and Garter inn ready to rise from ashes

A HISTORIC hotel destroyed in a major blaze two years ago is set to rise from the ashes after a trust was formed to kickstart its restoration.

The Star and Garter Hotel, in Linlithgow, was left gutted when a fire ripped through the 18th-century building in October 2010, but now architects are submitting tenders for its revival.

The group charged with resurrecting it – The Star and Garter Hotel Trust – plans to bankroll the multi-million-pound project partly through local fundraising, with the bulk of finance secured from heritage funds. It is understood the 250-year-old property is currently owned by liquidators and the cost of the plot could be valued at up to £200,000.

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Once restored as a community-owned asset, plans have been mooted to open a bar on the ground floor, create a community space and relocate the town’s museum to the building. It is thought creating a profitable pub on the site could help generate sufficient revenue to maintain the building in the long term.

David Tait, chairman of the trust, said the derelict hotel was of “tremendous sentimental significance”. “It’s an iconic landmark for Linlithgow and sits at the railway station on the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow, so everyone passing by on the train sees it,” he said.

“It’s also the first thing most people see when entering the town by road as well. Almost everyone that lives here has a story to tell about The Star. As a valuable structure in its own right, we have four architectural firms tendering for the restoration project.

“It’s one of the oldest surviving buildings in the town. We are trying to build the town up as a visitor destination and this is a key building.

Mr Tait said Anne McChlery. director of the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, backed the plans after visiting the building.

An application is due to be made to the Architectural Heritage Fund for finance in August.

Bruce McCallum, chair of Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council, said: “We want to see [The Star] restored to its former glory. It’s always been a coaching house, inn or pub since it was established and we are all in agreement that the ground floor should go back to what it was – a quality pub and restaurant. The use of the rest of the building is open to debate, it could be private dwellings.

“We are all desperate to get it back up and running but because it’s a listed building we might be limited in what we can do.

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“A fund is running in the town that people can donate to so we can buy the building and turn it into a community property.”