Beginning of the end for the old Denny?

The beginning of the long process to regenerate Denny town centre will officially get under way on Monday.

Contractors will begin dismantling Church Walk, the dilapidated commercial and residential blocks loathed by many residents.

The work to flatten ‘Block A’ on Duke Street, which extends up to but not including Cafe Anton, is expected to last for around 12 weeks.

Davies Row will be closed during this time but access to the car park will be maintained.

Work will resume in January to demolish ‘Block D’, which faces the Golden Chip takeaway in Stirling Street.

Residents have been campaigning for several years for Church Walk, which dominates the town centre, to be replaced.

Last year two local activists asked for Denny to be awarded the notorious ‘Carbuncle’ award for Scotland’s worst urban development, in an attempt to draw national attention to the town’s plight.

The Church Walk blocks were the result of a five-year plan drafted by the former Denny Town Council in 1965.

It proposed to build 1000 new homes and attract new businesses to the area.

However, much of Denny’s Victorian town centre was demolished in the process.

The entire west side of Stirling Street and the north side of Duke Street vanished. With it went many shops, such as the chip shop and The Clachan pub next to the pelican crossing.

At the time there was a huge demand for better quality accommodation.

Denny Provost Tom Hyslop warned critics of the plan that new housing was desperately needed. Addressing a council meeting in 1966 he said: “We are doing all in our power to solve the housing problem. I hope within three years anyone who wants a house can get it.

“There is great social damage done to young people who can’t get a home when they marry.”

When it was finally completed in 1972 the vast building was hailed as a beacon for the future prosperity of the area.

But its condition has since deteriorated rapidly with its last residents moving out almost 10 years ago, although many of its commercial units remain occupied.

Falkirk Council is continuing to acquire the remaining properties still privately owned with a view to completing the demolition of Church Walk, although a time scale for this work has not been given.

The authority has drawn up a masterplan with developers Henry Boot to eventually replace Church Walk with new commercial units and a civic space.

A previous plan to regenerate the town with a mixture of new houses and shops was scrapped following the economic downturn.