How 30 houses turned into 90

Falkirk Council planning convener David Alexander and Sheildhill and California Community Council treasurer Maria Montinaro both objected to Persimmon Home's plans to build 91 houses at Tappernail Farm, Reddingmuirhead - but the plans were approved following a vote
Falkirk Council planning convener David Alexander and Sheildhill and California Community Council treasurer Maria Montinaro both objected to Persimmon Home's plans to build 91 houses at Tappernail Farm, Reddingmuirhead - but the plans were approved following a vote

Plans to build 91 houses were given the go ahead despite the objections of two community councils and the convener of the planning committee.

Persimmon Home’s development on land to the south west of Tappernail Farm, in Reddingmuirhead, was also contrary to the council’s local development plan, but that did not stop planning officers recommending permission be granted and planning committee members voting it through by six votes to five.

At a special meeting of the planning committee on Monday, David Alexander, planning convener, said: “Clearly this is a significant breach of the local development plan, which limits the site development to 30 houses.

“This development is so badly out of touch with the local development plan that I cannot side with the developer.”

Councillor Alexander agreed with Councillor Adanna McCue’s amendment to refuse the application on the grounds of overdevelopment and the fact it exceeds the housing capacity of 30 units.

However, the majority of the committee agreed with Councillor John McLuckie’s motion to grant permission and to also remove a transportation contribution, which would have seen Persimmon Homes pay £110,000 a year – for three years – towards enhanced bus service provision.

The developer will still pay £254,800 towards Braes High School and nursery provision.

Maria Montinaro, of Shieldhill and California Community Council, called the committee’s decision not to allow a chance for community council’s objecting against the plans to speak at the meeting “unjust and unfair”.

She added the council’s claim it does not have a five year effective housing land supply and has a shortfall of 760 units – one of the main reasons officers were in favour of the Persimmon development, which will provide 23 affordable housing units – was not true.

According to Ms Montinaro, the council’s potential net surplus in housing land supply – gained from developments like Whitecross and Gilston – is actually 1548, which minus the 760 units shortfall, actually leaves a potential surplus of 788 housing units.

She said she intends to call for a judicial review of the decision – to get justice for the community – but added significant funding would have to be in place in order to pursue this.