SNP looking to change gear on Denny road

Denny Cross is a traffic hotspot and it is claimed the Denny Eastern Access Road will ease congestion
Denny Cross is a traffic hotspot and it is claimed the Denny Eastern Access Road will ease congestion

Plans to finish a new road to tackle traffic congestion in Denny could be moved up a gear.

Developers are expected to pay the entire £7.1 million cost of the Denny Eastern Access Road.

They are being billed by Falkirk Council on the basis of the impact their house building plans will have on the local road network in general and Denny Cross in particular, but so far only £1.8 million of the agreed £5.1 million contribution has been received.

Two sections of the access road have been completed, the north section between Broad Street and Denny High School paid for by the council, and a roundabout at the junction of Glasgow Road and Nethermains Road by Avant Homes as part of the Mydub Farm project.

Now the SNP administration is exploring ways to speed up delivery.

The council’s executive was told if funding were available the entire project could be finished in two years.

To make it happen the council could borrow the current outstanding balance of between £4.9 and £5.4 million, postpone other projects in the capital programme or take another look at how the council’s capital and revenue reserves are used.

Changes to the planning system being proposed by the Scottish Government which could lead to changes in legislation could also work in the council’s favour.

At its meeting on Tuesday Rhona Geisler, director of development services, warned if the council opts to complete the scheme there may be legal challenges from developers who have already contributed to the cost of the road either through construction or financial contributions.

She said: “The council as a result of legal challenges may have to fund the whole costs of DEAR and possibly refund those contributions already secured.

“The remaining sites within the current local development plan and highlighted in the current DEAR supplementary planning guidance may no longer be required to contribute towards DEAR if the scheme is completed prior to the sites coming forward for development on the basis the infrastructure deficiences have by then been addressed and the obstacle to their respective developments have been removed without their contribution.”

The executive agreed unanimously to note the report and await the publication of the proposed revisions to the planning system.

But Denny and Banknock Councillor Paul Garner claimed: “Under the current system of funding this much-needed solution to the undoubted congestion problems at Denny Cross might never come to fruition because we are reliant on section 75 contributions from housing developments that might never be built.

“The Scottish Government is due to release a report before the end of the year that might force developers to retrospectively contribute to infrastructire projects required by capacity increases.

“This new SNP adminstration is adamant that we will get this road built.”