Camelon canalside ice cream parlour to replace old Four-in-One factory
A brand new canalside ice cream parlour is set to replace the old Four-in-One factory in Camelon, with its owner promising it will bring “prosperity and energy” to the area.
Amrit Dhillon, who owns Candied ice-cream parlours, said the Portdownie site was perfect for his growing business, which has shops in Grangemouth, Denny and Rumford as well as one soon to open in Stenhousemuir.
Not only will the site have a new ice-cream shop it will also be the headquarters for the business, with all ice-cream being made there.
However, the businessman admitted that it was more than a practical decision as the now disused Four-in-One factory was once the headquarters of his late father’s hugely successful fast-food empire.
Developing the site has been a long-held dream, he told members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee.
Before the financial crash of 2008, the factory – still owned by Mr Dhillon’s father Harry at that point – had been part of plans for bigger development led by Scottish Canals, which would have included a marina, shops and housing.
Although those plans fell through, Mr Dhillon – who set up his own business in 2017 – said he continued to hope that he could work with Scottish Canals to help the area’s regeneration.
He told councillors that he had held a series of meetings to discuss his proposals.
But he was left discouraged and frustrated when Scottish Canals refused to back his plans, then said they could not afford to buy or even lease the building from him.
That left him, he said, with no choice but to go ahead and make his own plans.
“I can’t stay frozen to the ground in the hope they will come to the table,” he told councillors.
Officers recommended that the proposal be refused because of a lack of parking.
But councillors were persuaded that the large public car park at Camelon War Memorial would make up for any shortfall.
Mr Dhillon said that he envisaged lots of people coming to the area along the canal, either walking or on bikes.
And he said he could see lots of possibilities of the new factory and shop.
He said: “I’ve got visions of boat trips along the canal, stopping off for refreshments; families taking trips along the canal from the Wheel, past the distillery and down to the Kelpies; parents bribing their children to behave on the boat trip with the promise of a Candied on the return!
“I think it will be a great addition to the businesses on the canal, it will help promote canal usage and it’s an investment in one of Falkirk’s best selling points, which is the canal regeneration.
“I think it will bring prosperity and an energy to Portdownie that has been lacking.”
The factory will initially employ six people and there will be a further 12 once the shop opens.
“We’re only four years old and I can’t grow my business where I am – it’s just not large enough for me.”
Councillors agreed unanimously that the development would be positive for the area.