Falkirk Council HQ and arts centre plans still alive

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Plans to create a new Falkirk Council headquarters along with an arts centre are still alive after councillors agreed to go to the next stage – asking firms to come up with firm ideas, locations and all-important costings.

There were fears that Labour would not support the plans to go to procurement as they had requested a full meeting of Falkirk Council solely to debate the topic.

However, after well over three hours of debate councillors agreed to go ahead and a vote was not needed.

Councillors agreed to look at two options that had been narrowed down by officers – either a medium-large sized arts centre (550 seats) and small office HQ facility (320 workstations at a cost of £45.3 million or a medium-large sized arts centre (550 seats) and medium office HQ facility (500 workstations) at a cost of £50.4 million.

The Conservative group were unhappy with the proposals for the arts centre and suggested instead moving staff into vacant town centre units along with opening up the east end of the High Street up to Cow Wynd.

But Labour agreed to back the SNP’s motion to go ahead although they held back from giving it full backing, saying they would look at the ideas from developers and make a decision when they had the full facts.

A Labour group amendment also asked the council to look at other more immediate ways to support the town centre, which council leader Cecil Meiklejohn agreed to.