It is fair to say Falkirk Council’s elected members got the strong impression residents of Bo’ness and Grangemouth want Bo’ness Road to remain open.
At a predetermination meeting for the Ineos A904 road closure proposals held in Grangemouth High School on Monday night, planning convener Baillie Billy Buchanan and his fellow councillors were urged on a number of occasions to refuse Ineos planning permission when the matter comes up for decision at the council on Wednesday, March 29.
Ineos has lodged plans to build a security management centre and gatehouse to permanently close off a stretch of the road to allow them to construct four more pipe bridges and hopefully attract new businesses to their Grangemouth site.
Walter Inglis, Grangemouth community council vice chairman, said: “We are against developments that impact on our living environment. We have made it clear to Ineos this road closure would create difficulties for the communities of Grangemouth and Bo’ness.
“The presence of Ineos in this community is important in so many ways, but they shouldn’t take that as licence to do whatever they want. They should see the community as a partner and not an obstacle to be overcome.”
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the road being open to the public made security “challenging” for Ineos.
Ineos stated the road must close for the site to be competitive in today’s marketplace.
Gordon Milne, Ineos Grangemouth operations manager, said: “This plan will help to secure future success for Grangemouth. It’s a forward looking and enabling application that provides confidence.
“The road being open creates certain safety and security concerns. We still have to inspect the pipes and the best way to do that is to put the pipes above ground.”
Bo’ness community council convener Madelene Hunt said: “You are trying to shut our main lifeline for pipe bridges. There is no reason for this road closure. You have not proved your point – it’s all a dream at the moment.
“When you can tell us how many people are going to be in there and how many jobs are going to be created then come and talk to us. There is no reason to close that road now.”
One objector added: “Who gives away public land to a company who purely want to exploit the area to make a profit? As a council your responsibility lies with the public and no one wants this road closed.
“The council should not give away public amenities for the sake of a private proposal.”
Grangemouth resident James Bundy asked for assurances from Ineos the road closure would not have an adverse impact on local businesses.
The online petition Mr Bundy started has now collected over 2300 supporters and he was adamant the council take account of these people, who all object to the plan.
Baillie Buchanan said: “The responsibility now rests with the councillors and we will take a decision on March 29.”