Falkirk councillors once again refused planning permission for a major development which seeks to bring 500 new homes along with a hotel, a restaurant and several offices to the outskirts of Polmont.
The planning application for Gilston Farm, Polmont, has been proposed for more than a decade but councillors are still reluctant to allow so many houses to be built on the site, which is earmarked for business and retail use.
Developers Hansteen Land Ltd wrote to Falkirk Council in advance of the meeting to say they were concerned about several ways in which the planning officers had explained the proposals.
They told councillors they were unhappy that planners appeared to be satisfied to change the site’s longstanding allocation for business use to housing in June 2018 – but claim that by June 2019, they were being told that a key issue was the unsustainable nature of having so many houses.
The developers were also unhappy that the council report stated that SEPA had objected to the application on flood risk grounds, telling councillors that SEPA’s objections applied only to a small part of the area; that additional information would show there was no risk; and that SEPA made no objection when the site was earmarked for commercial use.
The developers also complained that their offer to mitigate any problems through a Section 75 agreement was not properly explained to councillors.
They had agreed to build a new nursery and “help deliver a solution” to the traffic problems at Lathallan roundabout.
Councillors were unconvinced, however, that mitigation measures would solve the parking problems at Polmont Railway Station, which is already very congested with commuters.
Community council convener, Rosemary Taylor, addressed councillors, repeating the community council’s stance that the infrastructure would not support the large number of houses.
Planning officer Brent Vivien told councillors their preference was to retain the site for business and commercial use to bring jobs to the area and benefit from the excellent motorway network.