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Dear Lidl ...... Please Think Again .......

Dear Lidl ...

We are delighted you are in town. Your 'hard' discounting and ever surprising mix of products and produce on offer have brought colour and great value for money to our town. And we also know that you made a 20,000 'planning gain' donation to our Community Council for them to allocate as they saw fit. And finally we know and appreciate that you are in town, indeed in business across Europe, to make a return for your shareholders on their investments. But ...

You know, since we have been upfront with you well before the day the Coeval Building was put on the market last summer, that we in the Arts Festivals wish to acquire it as a hub for the further growth and development of our work in town.

click on press cuttings to enlarge

The local press [above] reported our ambition in this respect last October. And we still wish to believe we can achieve that because you have not yet 'formally' rejected our offer of 250,000 made before alas you sadly allowed it to deteriorate because you exercised no proper care towards it.

It has deteriorated just cross your own car park in full view of your staff working there. You have now boarded it up downstairs and labelled it as 'Dangerous' which of course it certainly was not when you took ownership or when Nick Sharp's team from Coeval moved out, or seven months later when you placed it on the market. And ....

Now .... demolition has been 'rumoured' at Prestonpans Community Council

We have heard on the town's grapevine that you have a possible prefered buyer thinking of purchasing the building with a view to demolition and building housing there. We have to say we are wholly against such a step - not out of sour grapes although we would dearly love to acquire it at a fair price but - because frankly the building itself means a lot more to many of us in the town than any conceivable greater 'immediate' profit you can make by selling for such a purpose. We are determined to do all we can to stop demolition. We hereby seek to exhort you either to sell to ourselves at a fair price bearing in mind its current 'dangerous state', or to find another better offer from a buyer who wishes to give the building the opportunity to continue its iconic role in Prestonpans.

We have asked Historic Scotland to reconsider it for Listing, as it did the Gothenburg some 20 years ago to the town's eternal benefit. Our request is not simply because the building is an architecturally elegant example of 1950s neo-art deco. It is clearly that, but it is even more significantly the last surviving building from our town's illustrious industrial past still in use. Furthermore if we were to acquire it it would play a strategic role in the town's socioeconomic regeneration through the arts and once again be home to the renascent Fowler's 'Prestonpans' Ales - famous since the '45. It was as you will know built as Fowler's HeadQuarters at a time when they had never been more successful in our town and across southern Scotland.

We have once again been back in touch with our local newspapers and will in the coming weeks be seeking regularly to draw even greater attention to this issue in every possible way ....

...but we are writing publicly to you here in the expectation, judging from your past recognition of and deference to our community, that you will wish to think again and at the very least see that the 'Dangerous' premises you have allowed to materialise across your car park are put back into community use at the very earliest opportunity. We are willing to oblige immediately but if it is not to be us, please be certain it is A N Other.

Yours aye
for: Prestoungrange Arts Festival with Three Habours Festival and Fowler's Ales
The Arts Directorate

Published Date: July 9th 2007

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