Larbert residents air views on housing plans

Land to north of Loch View, Stirling Road, Larbert next to Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Pic: Michael Gillen
Land to north of Loch View, Stirling Road, Larbert next to Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Pic: Michael Gillen

The close proximity of a proposed housing development to NHS facilities and the loss of open space are among the objections to a proposed housing development in Larbert.

Falkirk councillors attending a pre-determination hearing for a planning application by Gladman Developments Ltd to build 60 new homes on land to the north of Loch View on Stirling Road heard the opinions of local residents and NHS Forth Valley on Tuesday evening.

The developer has lodged an application for planning in principle for the site, which is significantly contrary to the Falkirk Local Development Plan as the area is earmarked as a greenfield site.

Speaking at the hearing in Larbert Village Primary,Lynsey Fraser of Gladman Developments, explained the application responds to the identified need to deliver additional homes in the Falkirk Council area due to a shortfall in the effective five year housing land supply.

She also said the development would bring economic benefits through construction, procurement and increased local expenditure, and it would increase affordable housing levels with 15 of the properties designated as such.

Representatives of NHS Forth Valley expressed serious concerns about the proposed development and its close proximity to the new Maggie’s Centre and Loch View, which caters for patients with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

A spokesman said: “NHS Forth Valley, from a clinical perspective, remains wholly unconvinced that this proposal can co-exist with the existing and longstanding NHS facilities at Loch View without significant detrimental impacts on the residents of Loch View.”

And it was an opinion shared by locals who also mentioned the peaceful countryside feel to the area that is of benefit to those using the Maggie’s Centre.

Other concerns over the development raised by residents included the considerable housing growth within the Larbert and Stenhousemuir area, with large scale developments at Lorne Road and Kinnaird Village.

They said the existing infrastructure is under extreme pressure and school capacity, in particular Larbert High, and health provision would further struggle.

Locals said the road network is already extremely busy with substantial volumes of traffic on Stirling Road, accessing the hospital and using the route to connect to the motorway network, with lengthy queues at peak times.

Among their other concerns were there would be an adverse impact on local wildlife and it would result in a further loss of open space in the area when the rate of open space provision within the Larbert and Stenhousemuir area is considerably lower than the Falkirk average.

A report will now go before the full council in March for a decision on the application to be made.