Council asks developer to reconsider Denny town centre retail plan

Construction can get underway after Church Walk was demolished
Construction can get underway after Church Walk was demolished
  • Developer submits bid to build on cleared Church Walk site near St Alexander’s Church
  • Falkirk councillor describes proposed retail unit as resembling a ‘tin shed’

A major retailer could be on its way to Denny as plans progress on a multi-million pound regeneration project.

County Properties (Northern) Ltd, a commercial development and investment company, has offered an undisclosed sum to Falkirk Council to build a sizeable retail unit on a prime site across from St Alexander’s Church.

You can’t dump a tin shed in the centre of the town, next to a historic building

Councillor Tom Coleman

The project, known as Phase Two of the £7 million Denny regeneration, has been a lengthy process as the council has struggled to find the right developer.

But, even though the long-awaited offer was described as “realistic”, the company is being asked to reconsider its proposals after the design of the unit was compared to a “tin shed”.

Speaking as the plan was presented to last week’s executive, SNP councillor Tom Coleman said: “You can’t dump a tin shed in the centre of the town, next to a historic building.

“It has a tin roof and tin sides, and this is what we want to impose on the community.

“I think we should reject this offer and go back into the market later on.”

In pictures: How Denny town centre has changed over the last century

Councillors had been told that earlier attempts to market the site had been unsuccessful as developers were unwilling to make the required financial contribution towards the Denny Eastern Access Road (DEAR).

However, as the council had now agreed to foot the DEAR bill, a fresh offer was on the table.

But Rhona Geisler, the authority’s director of development services, told councillors that the proposal did not reveal which retailer would move into the building.

She also recommended that the company be asked to revise its proposal as the design of the 23,500 sq foot unit as it was not in keeping with the first phase of the regeneration.

It was described as a “warehouse”-type building, with a design that failed to adequately reflect the brief.

An SNP move to have the offer rejected outright was defeated, with the majority of councillors opting to have the existing offer revised.

The Phase Two decision was part of a general Denny town centre update given to executive councillors.

Members heard that the scheme was progressing well and running on schedule.

One issue discussed was the controversial budget decision to close down the public toilets in the town.

Officials told councillors that proposals to develop a ‘comfort scheme’ were being looked at.

The scheme would involve the public using toilets in shops, businesses and council buildings.

Mrs Geisler added: “Comfort schemes do operate in other areas and are successful.”

A decision was also taken to keep the Denny and Dunipace war memorial plaque in Broompark Memorial Garden after a consultation exercise with residents.

Councillors heard that over 840 local people had responded to a survey about where the plaque should go after it was temporarily re-sited.

But over half of them said they would like to see it remain at Broompark.

Members also heard that the Denny regeneration project had reached an important stage with the construction phase under way.

Mrs Geisler said: “Inevitably there will be a level of disruption over the course of the construction contract. Steps have been taken by the contractor Clark Contracts and the council to minimise the disturbance as much as possible and advise the community of the works involved.”