Controversial plans for a waste treatment site near homes in the Braes have been approved by the Scottish Government.
The approval will allow storage, treatment – including lime treatment – and distribution of organic waste at the old Jawcraigs brickworks site near Slamannan.
It was originally refused by Falkirk Council.
James McCaig Farms, which owns the site, appealed the decision and this was upheld by Scottish Government Reporter Lance R Guilford who concluded that the “...proposed development is consistent with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would justify refusing to grant planning permission”.
Residents – the closest being 100 metres from the site – are concerned about noise, smells and traffic the plant will create. Mr Guilford included six conditions for the planning approval to go ahead.
Upper Braes Councillor John McLuckie, who was part of the planning committee which refused the plans, said: “I’m disappointed in the decision but happy that there are conditions attached.”
Andrew McCaig said: “The site will create new jobs and bring new investment to the area.”
Central Scotland MSP, Margaret Mitchell was also “disapointed” at the decision.
She said: “It is yet another example of the centralisation of decision making under this SNP majority government.
“Here the wishes of a local community and the detailed considerations and concerns laid out by Falkirk Council, in refusing this application, have now been ignored and overturned by the Reporter.
“Furthermore the conditions attached to the planning consent approved by the Reporter when he overturned Falkirk Council’s decision to refuse, will give little or no comfort to the local community.
“The fact of the matter is that in this economic climate when councils are facing cuts to their budgets local Authority rarely have the resources to police or enforce these planning conditions.”
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed the Reporter’s decision. He said: “I have been working with local residents, SEPA and Falkirk Council since last summer to try to resolve the effects that the business at Wester Jawcraig Farm is having on the local community.
“I welcome the Reporter’s decision to allow planning permission – bringing the process indoors will allow the business to continue to operate with less of an impact on nearby neighbours, provided the conditions set out by the reporter are adhered to.
“I will continue to work with SEPA and Falkirk Council to make sure that the site is monitored and any concerns that my constituents have are addressed.”