Denny housing plan dispute

Steve Russell
Steve Russell

A Denny man has criticised Falkirk Council’s planning committee’s decision to refuse him permission to build four houses on his own land.

Steven Russell, of Home Farm in Head of Muir, wants to erect the dwellings plus an access road on part of the site previously occupied by a former riding school Mr Russell owned, which was knocked down in 2015.

Planning permission was granted in 2014 for the former stables to be demolished and for the land in the application site to be developed for residential use.

Mr Russell says he does not understand therefore why his recent application for housing has been rejected as he believes the council “set a precedent” in granting the previous application for this purpose.

The application was refused on the grounds that the development was contrary to the Falkirk Local Development Plan’s policies on Countryside, Housing in the Countryside, Development in the Countryside and Greenbelt.

The report also stated that the proposal was contrary to the terms of the National Roads Development Guide as it represented a pedestrian and road safety hazard due to “increased traffic which would be generated on an existing private access road of restricted width and alignment which does not benefit from street lighting or footpath provision”.

Mr Russell said: “The council set a precedent in 2014 when they granted permission for the land to be used for housing. The increased traffic comment does not stand up as there was a lot more traffic when the riding school was there. With regard to the greenbelt argument I would argue that the land is actually brownfield, not greenbelt because it was previously used as a commercial riding school.”

Mr Russell disputes comments in the report in relation to “unauthorised grazing” which he is seeking legal advice about and he also claims to have received incorrect information from Falkirk Council about the size of the site in question.

The report also references an appeal decision by another council as a similar application which Mr Russell says “does not follow the same description at all”.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “The planning application was fully considered by the planning committee in reaching the decision. Mr Russell has the right to appeal this decision if he so wishes.”