Maddiston care village plans suffer a setback

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Proposals to create a village in Maddiston entirely devoted to elderly people have had to go back to the drawing board.

Unfortunately the Falkirk area’s ageing population will have to wait a little longer to enjoy facilities including a residential care home, retirement housing, supported housing and a hotel on land to the north of Manor House – despite Falkirk Council giving ERM Ltd’s plans its blessing, in principle anyway, over a year ago.

At a meeting of the full council yesterday (Wednesday) members voted to refuse the developer’s bid to use an existing bridge crossing over the Union Canal and demanded it go back and fulfil the original requirement – made on December 6, 2017 when the council was minded to grant the plans – to create a brand new bridge.

The construction of a new crossing would mean seeking permission from third parties including Scottish Canals and Historic Environment Scotland, leading ERM Ltd to state using an existing bridge near the development site would be a much faster alternative.

Councillor Joan Coombes put forward an amendment stating the developers go back and make good their original promise and take steps to commit to this approach within six months.

While that was defeated by 13 votes to nine with three abstentions, Councillor David Alexander’s further amendment the developers make a commitment to go back to their original requirement to create a new crossing was successful by 13 votes to 12.

Councillor Alexander’s amendment was essentially the same as Councillor Coombes, without the six month time constraint attached to it.

“The onus is not on us to deliver this particular planning application,” said Councillor Alexander. “The onus is on the developer. Our role must be to act in a responsible manner in terms of the treatment of the applicant and the application itself.”

Another potential hiccup to ERM Ltd’s dream development for elderly people is the time NHS Forth Valley is taking to engage with Falkirk Council regarding the impact the proposed care village will have on healthcare capacity on the area.

Officers stated discussions with NHS Forth Valley were still ongoing, with a meeting scheduled for next week.

ERM Ltd’s proposals could help older people beat isolation while still allowing them to retain their independence. The Maddiston site itself covers 9.15 hectares and lies to the north of The Haining listed building and walled garden, to the west of the A801 and to the south of the Union Canal. The proposed new housing will consist of five blocks of two storey buildings containing a total of 60 flats, while the residential care home will have capacity for 80 beds.