Denny DEAR plans no further forward

By Kirsty Paterson
Thursday, 4th June 2020, 4:45 pm

Falkirk Council agreed in December to move on the project to build the Denny Easter Access Road (DEAR) by using a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

Now, following yet more delay caused by the coronavirus closures, they have been told by Transport Scotland that they need to buy more land than they had thought for accommodation works.

At the council’s recent emergency executive, members heard that the extra land – which is not needed for the road itself – will have to be formally acquired then sold back to the owners when the project is complete.

Denny Cross

Rhona Geisler , director of development services, told the meeting that the landowner, Callendar Estate, is supportive of the project – but she pointed out that the offer to buy the land was no further forward.

Councillors of all parties agree the new road is vital to boost Denny’s town centre and improve air quality and road safety.

Councillor Paul Garner, a local Denny councillor and the SNP’s environment spokesperson, expressed his frustration with the delays.

He told the meeting: “It was my hope that vehicles would now be driving along this much-needed route and not using the highly congested, over capacity junction known as Denny Cross.

Traffic gets congested at Denny Cross

“We at Falkirk Council have done everything to put this in place and have tried on numerous occasions to reach a satisfactory conclusion with Callendar Estates.

“It remains disappointing that the landowner, Callendar Estate, is reluctant to engage and agree terms for purchase of the land concerned, despite discussions that have been ongoing for the last 18 months.

“While it is appreciated the landowner may have wider considerations it is unfortunate that these are preventing a meaningful conclusion to the acquisition of the land for DEAR.”

He stressed they would still seek to engage with Callendar Estate while also pursuing a CPO.

He added: “To say I’m frustrated at the lack of progress is an understatement and as we are committed to this project and realise how important it is to the people and our environment I hope it can be agreed as soon as possible.”

SNP councillor David Alexander, who is the administration’s spokesperson for economic development, pleaded with Callendar Estate to “get back to the  table” and offered to facilitate any discussions.

However, a spokesperson for Callendar Estates said it was surprised to learn of the suggestion it has not co-operated  with the council over the proposed  DEAR development. 

In a statement, they said: “Prior to an emergency council meeting last week , the Estate emailed the council’s  director of development services to  confirm its strong support for the project .

“The issue which the Estate and its partners have is the proposed configuration of a section of the proposed road.

“On the basis of this configuration , the businesses of two let farms would be adversely affected.

“In addition, an area earmarked for the development of some 16 new homes would be land locked.

“The Estate and its partners are committed to working with the various council departments to secure a solution which would work for all and deliver the new road.

“As recently as February 27, there was  a positive meeting with the Council’s Planning Department at which a pathway for the solution was outlined.

“The Estate’s development partner is to lodge a detailed planning application towards the end of the present month.

“It is envisaged that from the consultation  and engagement to follow an adjusted  configuration will emerge and provide a  solution for all interested parties.”

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