A businessman has revealed his vision for a stunning new-look to Falkirk town centre which he believes will give it a positive future.
Alistair Campbell’s masterplan puts Grahamston Railway Station and surrounding area at the heart of a major redevelopment dominated by a public plaza with a new civic centre on one side and 500-seat arts venue on the other.
A bold rebuilding programme on a site covering 6.7 acres absorbing Meeks Road, Garrison Place, Melville Street, Hope Street and Glebe Street would also see 300 new houses, office and leisure space, shops, hotel and an elevated walkway over the railway lines leading to a multi-storey car park, as well as an improved road link in and out of town to the A9.
Mr Campbell, founder and managing director of property development company Bellair (Scotland) Limited, spoke exclusively to The Falkirk Herald about his ambitious plan ahead of its official launch today (Thursday).
He believes the blueprint his company has invested a “significant” amount of time and money in has the potential to attract over £50 million of direct investment and deliver an overall boost to the local economy which could be worth £150 million.
The 67-year-old Falkirk-born businessman, who was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to the economy and town centre regeneration, said: “I believe passionately in the long term viability and future sustainability of the town and surrounding areas.
“This is a comprehensive masterplan, a deliverable visionary development with flexible components in the form of residential, leisure, commercial and transport improvements.
“So many times in Scotland we have seen the hearts ripped out of communities by developments that draw people away from the town centre. Our vision would do the exact opposite.
“The proposed plan represents the first major investment in Falkirk since we opened the Falkirk Business Hub in 2013. We know there is demand for business space already as we have had to turn away potential tenants for the Hub, but this mixed-use development with its services and key regeneration anchors in the new civic centre to accommodate Falkirk Council and state-of-the art arts hub, will help draw people back into Falkirk’s historic town centre, creating extra footfall for the businesses already an integral part of our community and attracting other companies to be part of the next chapter in our story.”
Mr Campbell points to the success Dundee and Perth have enjoyed thanks to their properly-costed regeneration programmes and is convinced Bellair’s blueprint can deliver similar results.
He added: “There’s a doughnut effect happening in Falkirk as with many towns. The Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel are truly inspiring, but we can’t ignore what is happening in the town itself. Economic development is vital to sustainability and our vision could help Falkirk effectively self-heal, creating a lasting legacy.
“The Grahamston vision could give renewed focus to the railway station. It already benefits from direct links with Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Virgin East Coast to London stops there, but it could be turned into a thriving transport hub with improved bus links to the district’s tourist attractions.
“It will deliver much needed housing for the centre of Falkirk, improved council facilities, shops and business space while the arts venue should attract international performers and additional revenue.”
The Grahamston masterplan is on display from today at the Falkirk Business Hub and can be viewed online at www.bellair.co.uk. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org