No apology says council leader

Phase One of the project in Denny is nearing completion. Picture: Michael Gillen

Phase One of the project in Denny is nearing completion. Picture: Michael Gillen

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The leader of Falkirk Council says there is no reason for him to apologise over the contents of a letter published in The Falkirk Herald.

Councillor Craig Martin hit back after being accused of “lying” in his response to comments made by Councillor Brian McCabe about the Denny Town Centre regeneration project.

In it, Mr Martin said that ahead of a temporary road closure council officers had spoken to retailers including Betty Clark, owner of the Forever Flowers business.

Mrs Clark claims that never happened.

She said: “I am extremely angry, distressed and disappointed that comments attributed to myself by Councillor Martin appeared in The Falkirk Herald.

“I wish to put on record that no council official approached me before the road closure.

“It was distressing to me that other retailers impacted by the temporary parking restriction read this public comment that inferred we were content with parking restrictions which didn’t affect us. This caused us embarrassment with those retailers who were actually inconvenienced.”

This week Mr McCabe said Mr Martin’s letter was “highly misleading” and insisted: “Most concerning of all is his comment that on August 2, in advance of the restriction, a council officer spoke to retailers including Forever Flowers and Carron Valley Formal Dress. That simply isn’t true.

“I have spoke to the owner of Forever Flowers and been advised she was not approached by any officer prior to the restriction but only spoken to after the event. I have also spoken with the officer concerned who advised me they hadn’t even known of the proposed temporary parking closure.

“Why did Councillor Martin state an officer had spoken to retailers on August 2 when one hadn’t. I have written to Councillor Martin asking that he apologises publicly to those retailers he has embarrassed.”

Mr McCabe has long criticised the progress being made with the £7 million project.

In the past he has complained about the timetable, the administration’s refusal to share information with existing retailers on possible businesses interested in moving into the first phase of the scheme and attacked Councillor Martin and his Labour colleague Dennis Goldie, who is the council’s business and development spokesman, for refusing to meet with them.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Councillor Martin said: “I won’t be apologising and stand by the information given to me by officers in response to Mr McCabe’s original letter. I would not believe for a minute they would lie to me. I will meet retailers in Denny when I have something to tell them.”