Starbucks set to move into Falkirk’s Central Retail Park despite objections
Falkirk councillors have voted to allow a new Starbucks to open in the town's Central Retail Park, despite pleas from residents nearby.
A meeting of Falkirk Council's planning committee heard that the new coffee shop at the entrance of the retail park will create 20 new jobs in a unit that has lain empty since Carphone Warehouse moved out.
A resident from Galloway Street, just beside the shop, spoke to councillors at the online meeting, and pleaded with them to reject the plans.
She stressed she was speaking on behalf of 16 of the 20 households on Galloway Street who signed a petition against the proposal.
Their main concerns were traffic levels that already made it difficult to get into the street, and parking that was already a huge problem despite being right next to the large car park.
They were also worried about noise and litter, and very concerned that having a Starbucks would mean more people sitting cars with idling engines, increasing pollution in an area that already suffers from congestion.
She urged councillors to reject the application, saying that there were other sites in the retail park itself that would be more suitable.
The residents were backed by their local councillor, Cecil Meiklejohn, whose supportive statement was read out at the meeting although she couldn't attend in person.
The residents' were also supported by Councillor David Alexander - another local member - who said that their concerns had to be put ahead of economic considerations.
But councillors also heard from the applicant's agent, who said that the new coffee shop would create 20 jobs, including eight full-time positions, with no zero hours contracts.
Speaking on behalf of the franchisee, Burton and Speke, Colin Campbell said that the company was making a £500,000 investment in the unit and that they would organise a litter patrol three times a day in the area.
He confirmed there were no plans to make it a drive-through.
Councillors were told that site had been marketed for over a year but this was the first operator to come forward.
After a vote, the planning permission was granted.