Council chiefs say no to circus spending winter break pitched in Livingston

Plans for a circus to set up on the edge of Livingston have been rejected by councillors.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 1:51 pm

An agent for the Big Kid Circus claimed his client was a victim of misconceptions as to what was planned.

There would be no “big top with flags and lights,” Martin Drummond told West Lothian Council’s Development Management committee.

Photographs attached to the planning application detailed a 36ft tall dome on the site at Oakbank, which was designed as winter storage for caravans.

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Big Kid Circus wanted to camp near Livingston for the winter.

Planners had called for rejection of the plans because the Oakbank site – part of a former ‘oil village’ – was gradually being returned to the wild despite being used for fly-tipping and the dumping of old motors.

Mr Drummond told the committee: “I think there needs to be some clarification. There is no big top. It would be a geodome, more like the Eden project. There is no intention of erecting a big top.”

He stressed that the site would provide a winter home and training area for circus performers.

The circus wanted to camp over winter and train under geodomes at the Oakbank site.

Mr Drummond said his client would be happy to discuss the proposals in detail with planning officers, including the proposals for the geodome, even what colour it could be.

Planners argued that the circus had not established that it needed specifically this site for the winter storage, simply that they wanted a site in central Scotland.

Councillor Willie Boyle had initially suggested that decisions be delayed to allow greater discussions between the circus and council officers but a motion from Councillor Fitzpatrick against the granting of planning permission prompted him to make an amendment supporting the development. It was defeated at a vote.

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