A FIRE-RAVAGED hotel is set to rise from the ashes as a plush watering hole following a near £1 million refit by its new owners.
The historic Star and Garter Hotel in Linlithgow could be reopened as early as June next year as a fully-restored watering hole under exciting plans submitted by new co-owners David Kennedy and Ross Wilkie. They bought the 18th century building for a six-figure sum in August and now intend to unveil it as an upmarket pub to coincide with the traditional mid-year Linlithgow Marches.
A microbrewery would be part of a revamped beer garden attached to the prominent High Street building.
An enclosed conservatory, an 80-seater restaurant and bar, a pool room and a first-floor function room are other features in plans submitted this month to West Lothian Council. Five upmarket bedroom suites would also be created, with a glass-fronted coffee lounge facing Linlithgow’s main train station to complete the transformation.
The pub, dating back to 1759, has lain derelict since it was gutted by a fire caused by an electrical fault in October 2010. The owners are confident of completing the restoration for less than £1m.
Mr Kennedy, a local businessman who has lived in Linlithgow for 40 years, said he chose to buy the property after realising community group, the Star and Garter Hotel Trust, would struggle to bankroll the project through fund-raising.
He said: “I realised it was going to take two years to even start to raise funds to buy it, by which time it would probably have been unrecoverable.”
The venue’s beer garden is being modelled on Fringe venues such as the Underbelly. At least two trademark beers would be brewed on-site and branded using Linlithgow history.
Mr Kennedy said: “My big passion is the Scottish Enlightenment and that is what I intend to have as the theme.”
Surviving historical features including a stone from the town’s original perimeter wall will be retained.
Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop said: “The Star and Garter is an iconic building and holds different memories for many people, it will be fantastic to see it reopen next year.”
COOKING UP UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE
THE Thomas Cook Children’s Charity was set up in 2009 and works to improve the lives of sick and disadvantaged children. It supports a variety of appeals and projects for children both in the UK and overseas. Money is raised by Thomas Cook employees through a range of activities, including customer donations placed at the time of booking and unwanted foreign currency collected on board flights and in retail stores. The charity is set to raise more than £1 million this year.
Pete Constanti, chairman of the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, said: “We’re thrilled that we could offer this unforgettable experience to these children, some of whom have never flown before. I’m also very proud that so many employees volunteered their time to help make this year’s Flight of Dreams such a memorable day for these amazing children and their dedicated carers.”
The Glasgow flight was one of five Flight of Dreams taking place this month, with the others leaving from East Midlands, Manchester, Belfast and Gatwick airports.