‘GPs will not cope if more houses built in Bo’ness’

Concerns over a notoriously dangerous road and the impact on GP’ services were among worries local residents highlighted to Falkirk Council when it met in Bo’ness on Tuesday.

By Kirsty Paterson
Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 2:44 pm

The councillors were in the town’s academy to hear evidence from all sides about Miller Home’s outline planning application to build around 200 houses on land to the north of North Bank Farm, Bo’ness.

Arthur Mann, from Miller Homes, told those attending the pre-determination hearing that the new properties will provide homes for local people and include areas of open space, paths and extensive tree planting.

The site will be adjacent to its current site, Kinglass Fields, where he reported 56 per cent of people buying homes come from the Bo’ness area.

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The development will include 30 new affordable homes and the planning gain package would total £1.2 million, which would be used to extend Grange Primary and nursery’s facilities.

The work would start in 2020 and the build would be completed by 2025.

The NHS submission had been received late but councillors were told they were currently in discussion with local GP practices to determine patient numbers.

However, local GP Victoria Spencer, from Kinglass Medical Centre, spoke to say she “wanted the council to be aware of the impact on practice’s sustainability”.

Dr Spencer said: “GP practices are going under. People are retiring early because of the workload. If you have an increase in houses they will all need a GP and they will come to us. With an increase in workload, people will move on.”

Many residents, led by Bo’ness Community Council, were worried about the company’s plans to upgrade and realign Borrowstoun Road – fearing this would only increase the speed and amount of traffic.

Community council member Siobhan Samson said they were also concerned about the lack of social housing in Bo’ness, and questioned councillors on the definition of affordable housing.

“There are people in this town who will never be able to buy a property – never!” she said.

But he was also worried this particular site was unsuitable as it had previously been a municipal landfill site.

Several residents were very worried about the increase in traffic that development would bring, with others worried about the impact on local schools of a new development and in particular the traffic on Gauze Road.

One woman told councillors that Miller Homes had “never respected any residents”.

“Work is relentless from 7am until evening and the mess and dirt has been absolutely dreadful.

“We’re going to have another five years of hell with more building!”

In reply, Mr Mann urged residents to contact him directly if they had any concerns about building works.

He also reassured residents that the road realignment would include measures to reduce speed.

Councillors do not comment on any of the points raised but will use the information when they make their decision at a meeting of the full council in June.