Falkirk Council: Greenbelt plans for homes in Stenhousemuir near 'the Squiggly' path rejected

Falkirk councillors have unanimously agreed to refuse a controversial planning application for homes to be built on farmland near Stenhousemuir.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The plans for the new homes on Bensfield Farm – close to Redpath Drive, Stenhousemuir – have already been passed to the Scottish Government reporter, after Miller Homes appealed on the grounds that Falkirk Council had taken too long to decide.

However, members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee were asked to submit their views to the reporter as part of that appeal process.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

SNP councillor Gary Bouse (SNP), a local member in the ward said he was in no doubt that the plans should be refused as the land is not only greenbelt but also high quality agricultural land.

The Squiggly path, on Bensfield Farm to the east of Redpath Drive where  Miller Homes want to build housesThe Squiggly path, on Bensfield Farm to the east of Redpath Drive where  Miller Homes want to build houses
The Squiggly path, on Bensfield Farm to the east of Redpath Drive where Miller Homes want to build houses

“This could almost be called a carbuncle on the edge of Stenhousemuir,” he said, during Wednesday’s planning committee.

Read More
Plans for new Co-op store in Denny approved

“It’s a blatant development – there is no hiding that it’s in the greenbelt of this area.”

Mr Bouse stressed that while Miller Homes were generally “one of the better developers” – this application could not be supported.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After years of development, Larbert and Stenhousemuir have been transformed with hundreds of houses including the Inches, Kinnaird and now Stirling Road. The councillor said that it was time now to consolidate the housebuilding rather than adding to it and that meant a proper consideration of infrastructure, especially local schools.

He was particularly concerned that planning permission here would open the floodgates for more development from the Moss Road to Carronshore, including an application for Roughlands farm which is now in the early stages of seeking approval.

“Stenhousemuir and Carronshore are fantastic places to live but there is a reason that we have a local development plan and indiscriminate development into the green belt for commercial reasons does not come high on my priorities list,” Mr Bouse said.

While he did not rule out any further development, he said he was worried it would be “uncontrollable” and said it was vital that there should be a masterplan for the whole area as schools are already overcrowded.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “Larbert High School is now Scotland’s largest secondary school. I have to pay tribute to the staff and pupils for having a brilliant performing school even though it’s so big – but you can give that school as much Section 75 money as you like, anybody that knows that school knows there is not a great deal of land for it to develop.”

He added that he was hugely disappointed that NHS Forth Valley had not responded to the consultation regarding local health services.

His ward partner, Councillor Laura Murtagh, added that she was disappointed that Miller Homes had not held a pre-determination hearing that would have allowed all sides to put their points of view across.

Councillors heard that the application was submitted earlier in the year and held up firstly by the local elections and then the summer recess.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the course of the application 331 representations (307 objections, 2 neutral and 22 supporting letters) were received by the council. There was also a petition with 1700 signatures from local people who walk in the local area, particularly using a popular path known as ‘the Squiggly’.

Falkirk Council’s planning officers also recommended that the application should be rejected.