Public consultation for Polmont's Gilston development is cancelled

A planning development which has been in limbo for almost 20 years has suffered yet another set back back as an online public consultation event to be held later this month has now been cancelled.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:16 pm

The Gilston Farm site near Polmont has been the subject of a multitude of planning applications by the firm Hansteen over the last two decades and a new application to build 500 new homes there will soon be on its way to Falkirk Council.

The firm was due to hold an online public consultation event on Wednesday, June 24 between 1pm and 8pm, but say it has been cancelled for now due to the impact of the coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Hansteen said: “A number of studies will inform this consultation event. Given the impact of COVID-19 this has unfortunately caused some delay to the completion of these, meaning we will be unable to hold this event on June 24 as had first been intended.

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Hansteen's long awaited Gilston Park development has suffered another set back

“We will hopefully be in a position to announce a new date for this towards the end of this month.”

Last summer Falkirk councillors once again refused planning permission for Hansteen’s application for a major development to bring 500 new homes to the area along with a hotel, a restaurant and several offices.

At the time planning committee members said they were still reluctant to allow so many houses to be built on the site, which was earmarked for business and retail use.

Almost a year later and ever undeterred, Hansteen has presented a proposal of application notice to Falkirk Council noting the firm’s intent to lodge another similar application for the site.

This one is for a mixed use development, again with around 500 residential units on the 55.6 hectare site along with employment, commercial and retail uses, with associated infrastructure – featuring a large area for open space and a water park that can act as both flood attenuation for climate change modelling events and as amenity open space.

Last month Hansteen consultant Ken Haldane said: “We are delighted to be bringing forward our exciting proposals for the site, which will serve to deliver much-needed housing in the area. In addition to housing and employment uses, we are keen to get the views of the public and hear what they would like to see in terms of potential community uses.”

Hansteen say the development will assist in creating jobs and delivering housing and will also play a “major role in supporting the economic recovery from the current COVID-19 crisis”.

The firm believes the time is right for the application to finally be approved.

A Hansteen spokesperson said: “The adopted Local Development Plan, which allocates sites for development, had previously allocated the land for employment uses only. However, a new Local Development Plan is due to be adopted this year.

“A Scottish Government Reporter recommended through its examination the Gilston site should be changed to become a mixed-use allocation, delivering much needed housing in order to address a shortfall in Falkirk Council’ five-year housing supply.”

Extensive community engagement will be undertaken on the site, delivering a development which takes into account flooding and other constraints. It will also look to see what the public would like to potentially see on the site.

However, this will not be happening on June 24.