Denny town centre regeneration: Contractors set to begin building work

The two-storey building will have room for 10 shops, a new library and a community meeting room. It is expected the first retailers will have moved in by September 2016.
The two-storey building will have room for 10 shops, a new library and a community meeting room. It is expected the first retailers will have moved in by September 2016.
  • Falkirk Council appoints Clark Contracts to oversee building work
  • First retailers expected to move in to new shops by September 2016
  • Building will replace the now-demolished Church Walk

The long-awaited regeneration of Denny town centre will take a step forward this month when a contractor arrives on site to begin building work.

Paisley-based Clark Contracts will oversee the building of a new two-storey building in Stirling Street, by Denny Cross, which will have space for 10 shops, a new library and a community meeting room.

The Stirling Street and Davies Row elevations of the new building. The library will be entered via Davies Row.

The Stirling Street and Davies Row elevations of the new building. The library will be entered via Davies Row.

Five Modern Apprentices will be employed by the firm as part of the deal.

Many of the retailers currently housed in temporary units in Duke Street are expected to move into the structure by September 2016, with additional works finished by July 2017.

The new building will stand on part of the site of Church Walk, a vast residential and commercial complex built in the early 1970s and demolished in stages over the last three years.

It had originally been commissioned by Denny and Dunipace Burgh Council as a response to a housing shortage in the area. Its construction involved the flattening of much of Duke Steet and the entire western length of Striling Street, which included a number of late Georgian and Victorian buildings.

Stirling Street, Denny, around the turn of the 20th century. The buildings on the left would be demolished in the late 1960s to make way for Church Walk - which has now in turn been torn down.

Stirling Street, Denny, around the turn of the 20th century. The buildings on the left would be demolished in the late 1960s to make way for Church Walk - which has now in turn been torn down.

Although the new flats initially proved popular, they were empty by the time Denny residents took to the streets in 2010 to demand the demolition of the buildings, after a previous redevelopment plan drawn up by the local authority in partnership with a private company fell through.

By then much of Church Walk had been vacated and boarded up, and the overall condition of the building had significantly deteriorated, although several businesses remained open in its ground floor until early last year.

Falkirk Council took sole charge of the regeneration scheme in 2011 after developers Henry Boot pulled out.

The new building forms ‘phase one’ of the regeneration, with the cleared site opposite St Alexander’s church part of ‘phase two’. This plot is being marketed for private retail development.

The construction of Church Walk in 1969, as seen from Denny Cross, with Duke Street on the left.

The construction of Church Walk in 1969, as seen from Denny Cross, with Duke Street on the left.

The local authority has attracted criticism in the past from local businesses and community councillors over the length of time involved in demolishing Church Walk, and the proposed designs for its replacement.

Council Dennis Goldie, spokesman for economic development, welcomed the news that building work will soon begin.

He said: “This announcement helps the whole community move forward in seeing the delivery of a transformed town centre for Denny.

“The work will be of a high standard and feature attractive buildings that will appeal to new and existing retailers.”

Church Walk, Denny, in the mid-1980s. The last part of the blocks was demolished in 2014. The octagonal bank building is due to be knocked down in 2016 to make for a new town square.

Church Walk, Denny, in the mid-1980s. The last part of the blocks was demolished in 2014. The octagonal bank building is due to be knocked down in 2016 to make for a new town square.

Clark Contracts director Michael Scanlan said: “We recognise the tremendous importance of this contract, which is the first phase of the major transformation of Denny town centre.

“We are committed to delivering the highest quality product on the ground, and we are very much looking forward to getting started.”

By 2010, Church Walk was largely empty and had become an eyesore on the local landscape

By 2010, Church Walk was largely empty and had become an eyesore on the local landscape

The now demolished section of Church Walk opposite St Alexander's church. Picture: John Devlin

The now demolished section of Church Walk opposite St Alexander's church. Picture: John Devlin

The closes and stairwells of Church Walk could appear gloomy and intimidating to some. Picture: John Devlin

The closes and stairwells of Church Walk could appear gloomy and intimidating to some. Picture: John Devlin

A complex set of stairs and walkways linked the various levels of Church Walk. Picture: John Devlin

A complex set of stairs and walkways linked the various levels of Church Walk. Picture: John Devlin

By 2010, Denny residents were so unhappy with the condition of Church Walk they took to the streets to demand its demolition

By 2010, Denny residents were so unhappy with the condition of Church Walk they took to the streets to demand its demolition

The first section of Church Walk, adjacent to Duke Street, was demolished in late 2011

The first section of Church Walk, adjacent to Duke Street, was demolished in late 2011