Falkirk people to have say on demolition of council’s municipal buildings

People in Falkirk will be asked if they agree that the demolition of Falkirk's municipal buildings and the land grassed over while they are waiting for its replacement to be built.

With councillors having agreed last September that the ageing buildings are beyond repair, staff are already packing up and getting ready to move.

However, an eight-week consultation is a legal requirement as the nine acres the council buildings sit within belonged to the old Burgh of Falkirk which mean it belongs to the Common Good Fund.

The council wants to begin the demolition of the offices and council chambers as soon as possible to reduce ongoing liabilities, including business rates and insurance, and for public safety.

Municipal Building council chambers. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

But they have promised that the Town Hall part of the complex will not be knocked down until its replacement is built.

As staff - many of whom have been working from home - begin to return to the office, many will relocate to the Larbert site, previously used by Thomas Cook, which has been renamed The Foundry.

Others will move to Abbotsford House in Bainsford for the time being - including elected members - and it will also temporarily be the registered address for Falkirk Council.

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Although council meetings are currently online, once they resume they will be held in Falkirk Town Hall's studio until the new venue is ready.

The consultation was due to start on Monday but after last week's meeting, some changes have to be made.

It will have to raise the possibility that part of the land would be retained for new council offices as Labour have suggested.

While the Westbank Clinic site is owned by NHS Forth Valley, the two public bodies are working together to make the process of selling the land easier.

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said that while the final decision had not yet been made about the replacement, moving forward to demolition was "a clear statement of intent".

The cash from the sale will go towards building its replacement on the west of Falkirk High Street.

If the consultation does not agree on the demolition, the council has the option to go to court to ask for approval.

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