Gilston Park: Plans for 500 homes on hold until councillors visit Polmont site

A decision on planning permission for a site that was first proposed 24 years ago has been delayed again as councillors agreed to go and see the area for themselves.

Developers Hansteen Ltd had hoped they would finally get a decision on plans to build 500 homes alongside commercial and retail development on the 55-hectare site at Gilston Park, Polmont.

But members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee said that such a major application needed careful scrutiny and they preferred to visit the area – which first came to the council’s attention in 1998 – before making a final decision.

For this latest application, the councillors will also be taking note of how the 54-hectare site smells.

Picture Michael Gillen

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The new report to the planning committee shows that the environment watchdog, SEPA, has concerns that the nearby landfill site could create smells and even attract insects, birds and vermin.

It has advised that “it could take a considerable amount of time for the landfill to stop producing gas” – which means odours could continue to be a risk long after the site stops accepting waste.

Hansteen Ltd have said that the development will bring much-needed jobs and housing and will give the area a huge economic boost, with up to 300 new jobs being created.

Over the years, the plans have been controversial.

Local residents have expressed concerns about the pressure that would be put on health services, local schools, parking at Polmont station and the local road network.

Fears have also been raised that the development could cause flooding issues.

After years of debate, the decision was partly taken out of the council’s hands when plans for the site – including the 500 new homes – were included in the local development plan.

Hansteen Ltd have said that it will make contributions totalling £8m towards local education, affordable housing and transport infrastructure.

It is also prepared to discuss possible sites for new healthcare facilities with NHS Forth Valley, which has said that the three GP practices in Meadowbank Health Centre are already operating at capacity.

Provost Buchanan said: “There must be an opportunity for this committee to see the problems that could be associated with this development.”

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