Ineos’ road closure plans go to Holyrood

Boness Road runs right through the heart of the Ineos petrochemical operation in Grangemouth
Boness Road runs right through the heart of the Ineos petrochemical operation in Grangemouth

A petrochemical giant is taking its proposal to close off a public road straight to the top following four months in local limbo.

Ineos had lodged a planning application with Falkirk Council back in January to permanently close off a section of A904 Bo’ness Road in Grangemouth and erect gatehouses.

However, following a public meeting, residents were disappointed a decision on the plans was not made when it was expected to be – at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on March 29 – because Ineos had lodged supplementary information which would take more time to consider.

This sparked fears in the community Ineos was deliberately delaying proceedings to bypass the council and put the decision in Scottish Ministers’ hands.

In an e-mail to Grangemouth Community Council on July 28, an Ineos spokesman stated: “Due to non-determination of our planning application by Falkirk Council we have exercised our option to submit an appeal to Scottish Ministers.

“We firmly believe removing public access along a segment of road that bisects the site is in the interests of safety and security. It also enables Grangemouth as a single site to better attract inward and third party investment, benefitting Ineos and the local area.

“Local concerns about traffic and bus routes are being addressed with a range of mitigation measures and road improvements and we have consulted on these as part of the planning process.”

Falkirk Council confirmed the matter is now in the hands of the Scottish Government.

A spokesperson said: “The application will now be considered by a Reporter from the Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA). Scottish Ministers will then decide whether to grant or refuse planning permission.

“All representations and consultation responses submitted to Falkirk Council will be copied to the DPEA for the attention of the Reporter.”

Grangemouth resident Ian Peattie believes Ineos bypassing the council and going straight to the Scottish Government is an attack on local democracy.

He has helped set up a campaign against the plans which will be launched at a street stall in the town’s La Porte Precinct on Saturday. This is in addition to an online petition, Keep Bo’ness Road Open on www.change.org, set up by local resident James Bundy which has gathered almost 2500 supporters.