Controversial plan for a new care home in Linlithgow gets the green light

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Controversial plans for a 60 bed care home in Linlithgow Bridge have been approved after the developer rejigged designs to provide more parking spaces.

It was described as “the least worst option”.

Neighbours in Broomyhill Place, who had protested that their quiet cul-de-sac was to be turned over to an exit road in the original proposals, welcomed the redesign – which will see entrance and exit on to Falkirk Road.

However, they remain unhappy that a public footpath/cycleway will run through their grounds in the re-drawn plans finally accepted by the council's development management committee in Livingston on Wednesday.

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Residents argued against the plans but it was finally approved by councillors on Wednesday.Residents argued against the plans but it was finally approved by councillors on Wednesday.
Residents argued against the plans but it was finally approved by councillors on Wednesday.

They believe the care home is too big for the site – something backed up by the town’s Civic Trust.

Mike Dunning for the Civic Trust said: “This building is too big for this site.”

Speaking on behalf of several neighbours, Broomyhill Place resident Jean McLeod maintained that the increase in parking spaces – to 22 from 14 – was still nowhere near enough to accommodate staff and visitors.

She said the retention of a cycle path through Boomyhill Place would bring pedestrians and cyclists within feet of the french doors of ground floor flats, many of which are occupied by retirees.

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“If it is accepted that a care home of this size is required it should be located where there is room for it without making an impact on people’s lives,” she added.

The re-draw of the road also drew criticism from the neighbours and local Councillor Tom Conn.

Neighbours and other objectors had highlighted how busy the roads are at the moment, and how busy it is expected to become when a new M&S store opens in the retail park on the opposite side of Falkirk Road.

The new access/exit from the care home will require arriving from the west and leaving in one direction [eastward]. This means a drive to the roundabout with Preston Road to turn back or, as Councillor Conn suggested, cutting through the petrol station forecourt to switch direction. Both, he contended, would exacerbate existing traffic problems.

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Kenneth Brown, for the council’s roads department, said that the redraw also showed plans to widen a central traffic island in the road but he conceded the plan was now “the least worst option.”

He added: “Drivers would be forced to turn left which would force them to drive all the way to mini roundabout. I’m sure some will just decide it’s easier to do a U-turn in the forecourt.”

Councillor Conn also questioned how desirable or essential the cyclepath was, suggesting it would meander through privately owned land.

Councillor Stuart Borrowman, chairing the meeting, echoed the comment on the least worst option, but said the re-draw met demands by planners.

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“In view of all that we’ve heard, all the adjustments that have been made and accepting that life is imperfect, planning is satisfied that the policies have been met. The least worst option, I’m minded to move acceptance.”

This was backed by Councillor Willie Boyle.

Councillor Conn moved for refusal on the basis of road safety measures but there was no seconder.