Housing development on Boness green belt site rejected for second time

An application to build 12 homes on greenbelt land in Bo’ness has been rejected for a second time.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:19 pm

The proposed detached houses were to be on North Bank Farm, close to a much bigger site that Miller Homes is hoping to develop.

But unlike the Miller site, the smaller plot is not included in the Local Development Plan – and most members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee agreed with officers that there was no justification for building on it.

The report to the committee also highlighted that the road into the development – a farm track off Borrowstoun Road – is on a steep gradient and is not suitable for widening as any improvements would mean buying land from a third party.

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Upper Braes councillor James Kerr called the application in to the committee, as the development had been given the go-ahead.

He said: “At the moment, I just think it’s an eyesore and I’m sure that everybody would want something better than what’s there.”

His Upper Braes colleague John McLuckie was also in favour – as he had been in a previous meeting.

This time, however, he didn’t repeat his colourful claim that the local plan was only “fit for toilet paper” – thanks to a number of controversial sites being imposed on it by Scottish Government reporters.

Mr McLuckie argued that the new homes would be more attractive than the current farm buildings – and he also thought they would be more environmentally friendly.

But others were not convinced and Councillor Laura Murtagh said she could see “absolutely no reason whatsoever” to support the development on an established agricultural site.

“What it proposes is an urban-type development in the countryside – and it’s not a suitable development for this location,” she said.

Mr Kerr suggested a site visit – but others said this would make no difference.

Councillor Gary Bouse said: “This is on greenbelt land – that’s quite clear, there’s no argument.

“I don’t think this one should be going ahead and even if there was a building beside it, it’s still on greenbelt land and I would still be of the same opinion.”

Following a vote, the application was refused.

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