Cloybank Estate gets permission to sell off land

Planning permission has been granted to Cloybank Estate to sell three plots of land to fund development of the country estate near Banknock.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 5:39 pm
John Penman, Cloybank Estate. Picture: JPIMedia

At a meeting of Falkirk Council’s planning committee today (Wednesday), owner John Penman once again pleaded with councillors to allow him to finish the job he had started.

Family-run Cloybank, which has been open for 12 years, offers a variety of outdoor pursuits as well as employment training, though Falkirk Council.

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But Mr Penman told councillors that without the sale of the land there is no way he can get the cash to build a new training centre and hospitality suite.

That would mean, he said, he would almost certainly be forced to close Cloybank’s doors – a loss for the community and for its employees.

At a previous meeting, he had pleaded with councillors not to impose any section 75 conditions – this month he said he would agree to any conditions.

Councillors had been concerned at the lack of information from Mr Penman, including a business plan and wanted to see accounts that showed where money from the previous sale of land had gone.

The latest report agreed that Mr Penman’s submissions had now answered many of their questions.

It also showed that advisors from Business Gateway have looked at his existing business plan and agreed it is fit for purpose.

Councillor Joan Coombes said that while she did not doubt Cloybank did good work, she did not think it was appropriate for rural development to fund a business.

She was backed by Councillor John McLuckie.

They were also concerned that there was still wrangling over Section 75 agreements from the earlier sale of six plots of land.

Other councillors, however, said they were impressed by Mr Penman’s passion for the estate and the work that it does and were happy to approve permission.

Committee convener David Alexander said: “The facilities Cloybank has produced for the facility are wonderful.

“Despite the fact that we’ve had a year of this horrible virus and lockdown, this company is still here and that gives me encouragement that the isssues they are faced with today will be overcome.”

Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service