Larbert housing development: Builders blamed for health problems over amount of dust in air

Residents living near a controversial development in Larbert have raised concerns that dust from the building work is causing health problems and accused the company of not doing enough to stop it.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 10:58 am
The controversial development has caused concerns.

The Stirling Road residents, who have asked not to be named, claim builders Avant Homes have not been using proper water bowsers and are now calling for a meeting with the developers.

And one local mum strongly believes that her four-year-old son now needs to use an inhaler because of the dust.

She said: “At first he developed a cough and then he was wheezing and waking up in the middle of the night.

“When I took him to the doctors they said that the dust is part of the issue and gave him an inhaler.

“We were on holiday last week and he only had to use his inhaler once – but as soon as we’re home, it’s constant.

“The dust really has been unbearable – we can’t open our windows and it was particularly bad in that hot, dry weather.

The controversial site has been strongly opposed by the community since outline planning permission was first sought.

Initially, Falkirk Council refused to give planning permission to the green belt site – which is close to Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Maggie’s Centre.

With thousands of homes being built in the area in recent years, many residents, led by Stirling Road Association, raised concerns that schools and health services simply can’t cope with yet more homes.

However, despite their campaign, a reporter to the Scottish Government overturned the council’s decision on appeal and allowed the houses to go ahead.

Now, the residents say they have been powerless to object to the 93 homes which look like they will tower over their bungalows.

One said: “We didn’t realise that the houses would be built at a height that’s already above our houses – that’s before you take account of the extra storeys, so we are going to be totally overlooked.

The residents are also anxious that a buffer zone that was supposed to be 30 metres wide appears to be much smaller than agreed, and hit out at a lack of communication from the developer.

One said: “The whole planning process has been really frustrating – it doesn’t seem to matter that there were hundreds of objections.”

“We tried to talk to the company when work first started and there was terrible vibration and they said a manager would be in touch – but we’re still waiting.

“Weeks ago, we asked Falkirk Council to set up a meeting with Avant and we are still waiting for a date to be confirmed.”

The residents have now taken their complaints to MSP Michael Matheson who has promised to set up a meeting for them to air their grievances.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We have raised the issue of dust previously with the developer and extensive water suppression measures were put in place to manage it. However, we will raise this with Avant again.

“We are also aware of residents’ other concerns and are checking that the development under construction is in accordance with the terms of the planning permission.”

A spokesperson for Avant Homes said: “We are completing construction works at our Carron Feld development as considerately as possible and in accordance with strict planning conditions.

“Works can, at times, create high levels of dust. However, we are working hard to minimise dust generation with measures in place to monitor this.”