Falkirk area residents fight developers to protect green space in the Braes

Residents are still fighting a planning application for 91 houses which is now in the hands of the Scottish Government reporter.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 10:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 1:10 pm
Persimmon Homes appealed to the Scottish Government after its housing plans were refused by Falkirk Council

The Braes Greenspace, which became a registered charity in July 2020, is looking for as much support as it can get to help it plead its case to the Scottish Government reporter to refuse Persimmon Homes’ appeal to build 91 houses on land at Hillcrest/Tappernail Farm in Reddingmuirhead.

The planning application has already been knocked back twice by Falkirk Council, and now Persimmon has appealed the most recent refusal.

In 2018 the application was actually approved before a lengthy police investigation stopped it going any further.

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That investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing but it left the application “tainted by apparent bias” – according to a council report – and a fresh decision was necessary.

It came back to the planning committee again in September last year and was refused.

Persimmon stated its development would be “positive addition” to the area, bringing new families to these communities, who will in turn bring new children to the schools, spend money in local shops and use local services.

At the last planning meeting, before the application was refused, Persimmon had also agreed to pay contributions of more than £600,000 to alleviate any impact on health services, education and transport and promised 23 of the 91 homes would be affordable housing.

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Those who objected to the proposal to develop the land for housing – including all the local community councils in the area – stated it would have a negative impact on health services, schools and local transport, which are already struggling to cope with the rapidly increased population of the Braes area in the last few years.

They support the Braes Greenspace campaign, which says the area is desperately short of open space and everything possible should be done to keep the site accessible to everyone.

Now the group is looking to develop a plan of their own as an alternative to housing – the Braes Community Woodland Park.

A Braes Greenspace spokesperson said: “Given the recognised need for open space provision in the area, the creation of Braes Community Woodland Park would serve the current and future recreational needs of Braes communities across all generations.

"We respectfully ask for the appeal to be refused and the site be removed from the Local Development Plan. This will enable Braes Greenspace and stakeholders working together, to progress the creation of Braes Community Woodland Park.

“Negotiations with landowners have already commenced. If successful and Braes Greenspace is awarded the funds and the landowner is unwilling to sell, Braes Greenspace will proceed via a Part 5 Right to Buy Land to further Sustainable Development application under the Land Reform (Scotland) ACT 2016."

Before the park plans can progress, the group is urging people to visit the link to join the campaign and e-mail their objections against the Persimmon appeal to Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals department (DEPA) quoting the reference PPA/240/2070.

The deadline for submissions is January 19.

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