Crunch on Gilston

The Gilston site at Polmont
The Gilston site at Polmont

A decision on the future of a multi-million pound business and recreation development should be taken on Wednesday.

Hansteen Land Ltd. hopes plans for land to the east of Gilston Farm, Gilston, Polmont get the go-ahead

At the last meeting of Falkirk Council’s planning committee, councillors held off making a decision until they could study details of the proposed development contained in supporting documents.

Hansteen wants to create a new hotel, restaurants, car showroom and community woodland on the site.

The application got the thumbs up from council officers who stated the proposals were in accordance with the area development plan, national planning advice and the outline planning permission for development of the site and recommended members give the go-ahead.

However, Councillor Malcolm Nicol said there was not enough detail to show the development met conditions previously placed on it and called for more time to scrutinise support documents.

Councillor Nicol said: “Outline planning consent was granted, on appeal, a couple of years ago, but with some 20 conditions attached - including condition five which required the submission of a masterplan.

“However, there is no detail here about the site and how it will look. We need to see these supporting documents.”

Hansteen was granted permission in principle for its proposals and to form a site access, roundabout and upgrade the adjoining road. They got detailed planning permission only after taking their application to the Scottosh Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals.

This followed a series of rows with Falkirk Council over the proposed timetable for the work.

In 2006 Falkirk Council refused to grant Hansteen an extension to develop the land at the site - they wanted work on site to start on or before February 3, 2007, but Hansteen wanted permission to extend that to October 2011.

At that time Councillor Nicol moved the application be refused on the grounds that developers had not provided good reason for requiring another extension and that many of the proposals contained in the application were outdated.

He said: “This has been a long-standing application and my constituents are quite simply getting fed up with it.”

Outline planning permission was granted for a hotel and conference centre, car showrooms, a garden centre, sports and fitness centre and 150 houses on the site in 2001 and Falkirk Council subsequently approved a masterplan for that development in September 2004 - but work was not carried out.

Rory O’Connor, representing Hansteen, told The Falkirk Herald at the time: “It’s not a question of will the site be developed, but when it will be developed and what will be developed on it.

“We are not going away, we are there for the long haul.”

Work has already begun on site to create a new four-arm roundabout which will serve as the main vehicular access to different areas of the development.

The firm’s proposals include details of habitat man­age­ment, design strategy, travel plans and ecology.