This time, we do it our way in Denny

Denny town centre
Denny town centre

Plans to breathe new life into a downtrodden town centre are back on the agenda just days after the project looked to be grinding to a halt.

Falkirk Council will next week present radical new proposals to regenerate the heart of Denny.

The multi-million pound development would see the dilapidated Church Walk buildings swept away and replaced by new shops, a public square, a library and additional parking space.

The local authority will “go it alone” on the project after a long-standing deal with development company Henry Boot ended, as revealed in last week’s Falkirk Herald.

Commenting on the new plans, council leader Craig Martin said: “The shackles are off.

“We can now go forward with a very ambitious project to regenerate Denny.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

Denny and its surrounding area has expanded rapidly in the past ten years with a number of new housing estates boosting the town’s population.

However redvelopment has so far failed to reach its centre, which has been dominated by Church Walk, a large commericial and residential block, for the past 40 years.

Once hailed as a beacon of modernity, the building is now semi-derelict and is considered an unwanted eyesore which reflects negatively on the area.

The condition of Denny town centre led to local campaigners asking to be awarded the infamous ‘Carbuncle’ award for Scotland’s most dismal place in October last year.

Residents have expressed dismay as plans to regenerate the area have been beset by problems and cancellations during the past five years, with two successive regeneration plans eventually being scrapped.

Falkirk Council will now attempt to win backing for its latest attempt to drive the town forward.

The Falkirk Herald has seen the new £6.5 million masterplan which will finally kick-start the town’s regeneration.

Phase one of the new plan involves the construction of a two-storey building in Stirling Street, near Denny Cross, which will have space for nine commercial units and a library.

This would guarantee companies such as Lloyds TSB and Boots the Chemist a continued presence in the town.

The distinctive octagonal office which currently houses the bank would be retained whilst the new building was completed, before being demolished to create a new public square.

The Denny war memorial would be reinstated in Stirling Street to act as principal feature of this new space.

The cleared sites on Duke Street and the remainder of Stirling Street will have utilities installed ready for their future development.

Work on the project, if approved by councillors, will commence in three years’ time once Church Walk has been fully demolished.

Councillor Martin added: “Due to the current economic climate, it was just not possible to get a supermarket to commit to opening in Denny town centre.

“However it is our belief that the town will become a much more attractive opportunity for investment once companies have seen that we have started the regeneration and that the sites are cleared and ready for development.

“There are no definite plans for what will be built on these sites but we envisage a number of commercial units opening.”

Mr Martin acknowledged that many in Denny had grown impatient of the numerous delays to the project, and were anxious to see Church Walk replaced.

He added: “I made a personal commitment to the people of Denny that regeneration would take place.

“There are no other major town redevelopments to my knowledge taking place.

“This is the best plan that the current economic conditions can allow. I think it’s an extremely positive move.

“We will fully consult with the public before and after any planning application is submitted.

“The important thing is that the regeneration is happening and Denny is moving forward.”

Meanwhile, Denny residents will have a chance to debate their town’s future at a meeting of a new public focus group on Monday.

‘21st Century Denny’ has been established by Denny Community Council to give people a chance to discuss the town and the issues it faces. It will meet at 7 p.m. at Denny Community Education Centre.