Larbert homes plan given go ahead despite objections

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Controversial plans to build 60 houses in Larbert on land near Forth Valley Royal Hospital and its neighbouring Maggies Centre have been given the go-ahead after government reporters overturned the council’s decision on appeal.

The planning application in principle for land to the north of Loch View, Stirling Road was submitted by Gladman developments Ltd, was rejected by Falkirk Council’s planning committee in March.

But the reporter, appointed by Scottish ministers, recommended that permission be given,  on condition that 25 per cent of the homes built are classed as ‘affordable housing’.

He also made the condition that open space on land to the west of the site is retained and maintained.

Thirdly, the reporter has insisted that developers make appropriate financial contributions to any education, open space and traffic improvements that the building will make necessary.

Councillors were told in December why the reporter had made the decision and planning permission was finally granted on April 25.

The council had refused permission for the development after a campaign by locals highlighted the problems of traffic in the area, which they said would only be made worse by the development.

The NHS also voiced fears about a development so near to the hospital in Larbert and the tranquility of the Maggies Centre which sits in its grounds, offering support to people with cancer.

However, in reaching his conclusion, the reporter found a “significant shortfall in the five-year supply of effective housing land” and ruled that the land was suitable for sustainable housing, with reasonable public transport links.

He also maintained that the peaceful environment of the Maggie’s cancer care centre would not be disturbed, saying in his report: “The closest part of the appeal site is around 200 metres from the Maggie’s Centre, with the intervening land comprising the existing open space and walkway round the loch, and the proposed area of open parkland.”

He also dismissed suggestions that the development would have a negative impact on the settings of Larbert House and stables and Larbert Old Church and rejected objections it would have a negative impact on the area’s cultural heritage.

The reporter also found that flooding and drainage problems could be satisfactorily dealt with.