Housing plan for former Whitecross brickworks refused

The plans would have seen Whitecross double in size.
The plans would have seen Whitecross double in size.

A bid to transform a former brickworks into a village complete with up to 1500 houses and a primary school has been refused.

The former Manuel Works site at Whitecross had been earmarked for major regeneration.

But after over four years of delays Falkirk Council’s planning committee has finally given up on the idea.

Councillors were told on Wednesday that repeated attempts by officers to have the developers and other landowners sign the vital paperwork needed to move the scheme forward had failed.

They heard that agents for one of the key players with a “significant” stake in the scheme, Callendar Estate, has asked on Monday for the deadline to be extended.

Committee convener Baillie Billy Buchanan said: “I find it incredible that after all these years they come up with another excuse not to sign just two days before our meeting. The timing of their request was ridiculous.

“Everyone wants to see this site developed. Our officers have dealt with the application very professionally and I sympathise with them. All the parties have been given all the time they should have needed, but the first brick has still to be laid.”

Councillor John McLuckie said: “It’s terrible we have not been able to deliver something that we as a council and the community wanted.”

Planning permission in principle was granted to Morston Assets, who went into administration last December, in May 2011.

Yesterday the committee had the choice of refusing the application because it has gone on for so long or granting another continuation.