More homes and jobs for Falkirk is good news story says developer

The owner of the former Castings Club has promised Middlefield residents that they will soon see big changes on the site which has lain derelict since 2012.

By Kirsty Paterson
Monday, 13th July 2020, 7:30 am

Tommy McMillan, director of Alchemy Developments (Scot), says he hopes work will begin very soon on 15 new social houses and eight private homes that were granted planning permission last year.

He said: “I would love to have got them built sooner but there have been several very lengthy delays.”

Mr McMillan said that building warrants have now been submitted for 15 social houses, while those for eight private houses at the back of the site should be submitted next week.

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Site of the former Castings Social Club before a recent clear up

He had previously hoped that building work would start in 2017 but a partnership his company had with social housing provider Weslo came to an end when the landlords pulled out of the project.

There was more delay, he says, as discussions with Scottish Water to find a technical solution to the site’s drainage dragged on for months.

He said: “We have been speaking to another social landlord and we are almost at the stage to announce heads of terms – we will be doing that soon.”

The Falkirk-born businessman was responding to criticism from two local councillors, David Alexander and Cecil Meiklejohn, who is also the leader of Falkirk Council.

They joined forces with Tracey Fullerton, secretary of the local community council, to condemn the condition of the long-vacant site, saying it was becoming a health hazard.

In particular, they were furious at the way in which it had become a magnet for fly-tipping – made worse during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ms Fullerton said: “The condition of the former Castings Social Club grounds is a disgrace and requires attention now.”

Councillor David Alexander said: “This site should have been hosting a relaxing game of bowls or just providing a place where people can mix together as a community.

“The current legislation allows for enforcement action to be taken against owners that allow their property to adversely affect the community and I have sought this commitment from all the relevant departments.”

Alchemy Developments responded that they did clear the site of all fly-tipped rubbish when the issue was raised with them and say they have also improved security.

Councillor Alexander is unhappy though that heaps of rubble remain and says the site is still an eyesore.

Mr McMillan says the rubble was put there deliberately to enhance the security of the site and stop people going in and dumping and that it will be used for infill when work starts.

He said: “This is not the only site in Falkirk to have seen an increase in fly-tipping during the coronavirus and we have done our best to deal with it.

“Yes, it has taken longer than I would have liked but things are definitely happening and the fact that we are building social housing and creating jobs is a good news story. “