Falkirk’s Catwalk owner told they must keep 1930s frontage

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Owners of a Falkirk clothes store have been asked to rethink proposals to renovate their property.

An application to transform Catwalk in Princes Street from two retail units into one, was discussed by Falkirk Council’s planning committee last week.

However, council officers ruled the design was not sympathetic to the store’s 1930s structure given it is in the town’s conservation area.

Stephen McClure, planning officer, said: “So far this shop has kept its original design. The applicant has proposed a glass door with a support frame but we want them to use timber for the door and to keep in line with the 1930s craftsmanship.

“We have asked them to produce a more appropriate design. Most of the buildings in the conservation area are listed or have historic value.”

The proposal seeks to replace the two recessed doorways with a modern metal and glazed entrance.

Councillors agreed the unit could be altered in a way which preserves the original shop front appearance and allow for a single doorway to be created.

Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), which is coming to the end of its five year project, has provided grants for the repair and restoration of historic programmes within the conservation area.

Since 2013 Falkirk THI has funded appropriate improvements and alterations to buildings and shop fronts.

The group previously told the local authority the structure of Catwalk is “worthy of protection from any alterations which would detract from its historic character”.

Mr McClure said: “We are not against the proposals to integrate the two stores. Although it might seem like a small change but it would make a big difference.”

Members of the planning committee then discussed what steps should be taken to make sure a suitable plan was drawn up.

Councillor David Alexander said: “Councillor Pat Reid has requested a site inspection but I don’t think the town centre is the best place to have a hearing.”

Members voted to visit the store individually, to avoid disrupting business for the applicant, and hold a hearing to discuss new plans next month.