Business owner calls for clean-up of neglected Falkirk town centre site

York Cafe owner Melissa Tocher at the neglected area of land to the north of Falkirk High Street. Picture: Michael Gillen
York Cafe owner Melissa Tocher at the neglected area of land to the north of Falkirk High Street. Picture: Michael Gillen

A High Street business owner has appealed for a crackdown on vandals after 80 litres of used cooking oil was poured down the road.

The incident on the evening of March 25 was the latest in the east end of Falkirk’s main shopping thoroughfare, according to Melissa Tocher, the new owner of long-established York Cafe.

The 27-year-old from Carronshore, who runs the cafe with business partner Graeme McNie, claims that gangs of youths regularly congregate near Burnhead Lane, to the south of the High Street, to cause trouble.

The rubbish-strewn area lies to the rear of several businesses and ownership of the site is contested.

Melissa said: “It’s a mess, and no one is willing to take responsibilty for it.

“Since we took on the York Cafe 10 months ago we have continuously raised concerns to the police and other officials. We have encountered three acts of theft and one of vandalism in that time and no one has been caught.

“Our High Street is a mess and we feel that instead of encouraging young independent companies to start up, all this has done nothing but continually dishearten us both.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said that Falkirk High Street and the wider Falkirk North ward had the highest crime detection rate in the Forth Valley Division.

They added that officers took policing the High Street extremely seriously and that the area was monitored by CCTV cameras.

The barrel of oil was secured at the rear of the cafe when it was forced open and tipped at around 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.

The building was also broken into on Sunday, March 30 when items including cash and a laptop were stolen.

And on September 7 last year a set of keys were taken from the premises while it was open for an evening function.

Orphan land clean-up project is planned

Falkirk Delivers town centre manager Alastair Mitchell said he was aware of the fly-tipping problem behind the York Cafe and that plans were being finalised to clean-up orphan land sites in and around the High Street.

“We organise regular litter picks in the town centre throughout the year and the land behind the York Cafe is one that has to be cleared regularly. There are questions regarding its ownership.

“It’s an issue we’ve raised with Keep Scotland Beautiful and Falkirk Council. We’re looking at orphan land across the town centre, and started by clearing a large amount of debris from Fleshmarket Close, behind the Steeple.”