The regeneration of Denny took a significant step forward this week as councillors officially backed the first part of a plan to breathe new life into its town centre.
Members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee voted to approve the construction of a new two-storey building in Stirling Street, near Denny Cross.
It will have space for 11 shops and a community library.
Work on the structure is expected to begin next year when the existing Church Walk complex is completely demolished.
However there remains opposition to the scheme, with one critic claiming that the building would resemble a “Swiss chalet stuck in the middle of Denny”.
The Falkirk Herald reported last week that a petition had been launched by residents asking Falkirk Council to reconsider the design of the building.
It has so far attracted more than 100 signatures.
Speaking at the meeting, independent councillor Brian McCabe said: “There are severe design flaws which fail to recognise the ageing population of Denny. The design will certainly cause problems for the elderly and the disabled. I just don’t see it as the logical answer for Denny.”
SNP councillor Martin Oliver said: “The feelings of the community have been arrogantly dismissed. There are too many questions regarding traffic management issues which still need answering. More information is required about off street parking facilities.
“The community wants a new town centre and welcomes the council’s £6 million investment, but they do not want this particular design. This plan has no support in the local community.”
Labour’s Jim Blackwood supported the plan, stating it was impossible to please everyone.
He added: “This application will give us the opportunity for further progress in Denny without any more delay.”
Council leader Craig Martin said: “The community of Denny has been promised a new town centre for years and now we are almost there. I believe there is a lot of support for this application in the community.
“I utterly believe what we are doing in Denny is the right thing.”
Councillor Steven Carleschi put forward a motion to reject the plans on the grounds of traffic issues and design of the buildings and was seconded by Councillor David Alexander.
Councillor Craig Martin put forward an amendment to grant planning permission and was seconded by councillor Allyson Black.
The amendment to grant was approved by seven votes to five.
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