Decision was ‘fair and just’

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A councillor claims his decision to let developers away with not paying £330,000 to Falkirk Council was the fair and just thing to do.

Last week vice convener of Falkirk Council planning committee John McLuckie moved Persimmon Homes plans to build 91 houses in Reddingmuirhead be granted and members voted it through.

A majority of members also backed Councillor McLuckie’s suggestion to remove the condition Persimmon pay £110,000 over three years to enable the bus service in the area to move from a hourly service to a half-hourly service.

At the meeting Councillor McLuckie said: “For years the community up there had an excellent bus service which Falkirk Council took off. I move to grant the application, but I cannot agree to the contribution to transport.”

This week council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “I find the decision to go against the advice of the professional officers and pass up a better bus service for the people of the Braes demands an explanation from those responsible.“

Councillor McLuckie said it was hypocritical for the SNP administration to criticise his decision, because their move to refuse the housing plan would mean the area would not have got the transport cash anyway.

He admitted he would have agreed to the firm paying the transport contribution if the bus service in question had been one that was actually used by more people.

Councillor McLuckie said: “I made my judgement based on planning guidelines – I have been honest and up front about everything. In my view it didn’t meet the planning guidelines over transport contributions.”

A Persimmon Homes spokesman said: “During the course of the determination of our application, we made it clear to officers we believed the transportation contribution being sought was not fair or reasonable. This belief was highlighted publicly during both the formal site visits and also during the committee hearing for our original application.”