Labour councillors unveil alternative Falkirk Council HQ plan
Falkirk Council's Labour group is putting forward its own plans for a new arts centre and municipal buildings at tomorrow's full council meeting.
Last week, it was revealed council officers are recommending that a block of shops and offices on Falkirk High Street and Cockburn Street should be transformed into a new council HQ and arts centre - a project that is being championed by the SNP group as a way to regenerate the town centre.
Now, the Labour group says it wants to build an arts centre in the High Street site - with an entrance opposite the historic Trinity Church - and a new council headquarters on the current site of the municipal buildings.
Labour group leader Councillor Robert Bissett said Labour’s proposals will provide a transformational new look to Falkirk High Street while the new headquarters will show Falkirk is open for business,
Mr Bissett said: “This is one of the biggest decisions the council has taken in 50 years - we need to show ambition.
“The proposed site is too small to do the job properly and give the people of the Falkirk area an arts centre and council headquarters that they can be be proud of.
" This is about the people of the Falkirk area saying we are proud of what we have achieved together and we want to put that pride on show.”
The leader of the council, SNP group leader Cecil Meiklejohn responded, saying: "I am pleased that the Labour group can now get behind the project and agree that the best option is High Street/ Cockburn Street site.
"However a key element to improve the economic benefits for the town is to create the foot fall within the town centre.
"Decoupling the office accommodation from the arts facility and having the office accommodation at the current municipal buildings site, which would be detached from the core development, will reduce the potential footfall.
"More importantly it will cost significantly more to deliver than the £45 million financial envelope that was agreed by Council.
"Furthermore at a time when we are looking to reduce the number of Council buildings, having two buildings to service and maintain will impact on our progress in reducing our carbon footprint to reach net zero."