Torwood residents claim housing development should never have been approved

Torwood Woodland Group say the decision to grant planning permission in Torwood is unfair
Torwood Woodland Group say the decision to grant planning permission in Torwood is unfair

A community group has hit out at a housing development approved by Falkirk Council Planning Review Committee despite recommendations to the contrary.

Torwood Woodland Group said the permission to build three homes on the land off Glen Road in the village should never have been given, especially as it went against the recommendation of planning officers and was contrary to the Local Plan.

Planning permission was initially refused. However, the application was taken to the new Falkirk Council Planning Review Committee last September when councillors split 2:2 on the decision. Deputy convenor John McLuckie, chairing the meeting, used his casting vote to approve the development of three detached homes on the land.

Joanna Stevenson, who chairs the group, said: “We were very disappointed in the council’s decision, Torwood is a community woodland and joins up with Larbert Woods. It should be protected.

“We weren’t even told about the decision, despite objecting to it and only found out it had been approved months later.

“The review was heard in front of just four councillors, it’s not right that such an important decision is made with such small representation.”

However, Falkirk Council says all protocols were followed. A spokesperson said: “The Planning Review Committee approved the application in September following a number of discussions and a site visit. The committee took account of relevant considerations including issues around woodland and was minded to grant approval for this development.

“The Torwood Community Woodland Group is not an owner or occupier of neighbouring land and would therefore not be included in the neighbour notification process.”

The site was the location of illegal felling in 2002, however the land is now in new ownership.

The Forestry Commission did investigate reports of illegal felling but found no offence had been committed.

However, they did issue an enforcement notice under Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations to secure the replanting of the site. The landowner has appealed this order and the case is going to the Scottish Reporter.