Councillors have backed major redevelopment of a former brickworks.
The massive 8.6 hectare site, which was home to GR Stein’s Brickworks in Allandale has been earmarked for housing, offices and a veterinary hospital. There will even be room for a new pitch and changing rooms for the local amateur football team.
Falkirk Council’s planning committee agreed the scheme after a site visit.
Concerns had been raised about road safety and council experts had recommended the application by Allandale Properties Limited be refused because it did not comply with development plan rules for the area, but it was approved by eight votes to two.
Committee convener, Indpendent Councillor Billy Buchanan said: “While major concerns were raised with regards to access and the level of vehicle and pedestrian movements which might result from this development it’s my view they have been dealt with. I think the developers have come up with a solution to these concerns and believe it has the potential to bring benefits to not just the local but wider community.”
His move to grant the planning bid subject to certain conditions including cash contributions being made by the applicants to cover future education costs was backed by SNP Councillor Martin Oliver. He claimed: “The application ticks a lot if not all the boxes. What’s proposed is a good mix of residential and business use. The building phase will also bring an economic boost.”
Labour Councillor John McLuckie said: “A lot of work has gone into this proposal. The traffic controls proposed will make a big difference because, at the moment, cars speed through the village, the area is an accident waiting to happen. It’s unsafe at the moment and this development deals with a whole lot of issues.”
Labour Group leader Councillor Craig Martin agreed: “A better traffic management system through the village will make a big difference.”
Councillor Georgie Thomson of the SNP said she was “not convinced” the road safety issue had been addressed properly. She told colleagues: “I still have major concerns and feel this application is being rushed through. I think for the reasons recommended by officers in the report it should be refused.”
Councillor Thomson said she was “surprised” the planning bid had not been on the planning committee’s agenda last month and was now being decided after a site visit. She said: “If it was not ready then why was it not continued until the first meeting of the new committee after the elections?”
Planning and transportation boss John Angell said: “There was further information required from the applicant which was not available at that time. A number of unfortunate circumstances dragged the process down.”
Councillor David Alexander, leader of the SNP Group, admitted: “We are where we are now. Overall it’s my view the road traffic concerns will be improved as a result of this application. It would have been better if we’d taken more time over this, but on balance I would support the motion to grant at this stage.”
The plan, which has the full support of the local community council, will deliver 60 detached two-storey villas to be sold privately and 11 “affordable” homes which will be rented by a social landlord to ease the council’s housing waiting list.
The new football pitch and pavilion will be used by Stein’s Thistle FC and the two-storey office block will provide space for eight units. The proposed veterinary surgery will be one and a half storeys high.
The developer will pay education services £6800 per house to ease classroom pressure at Antonine and St Joseph’s primaries and Denny and St Mungo’s high schools.