Mr Stewart, the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning was in Falkirk on Tuesday to officially open Weslo Property Management’s Silk House development in Park Street.
As he arrived, he was met by protesters from Bo’ness Road Action Group (BRAG) who are unhappy at the decision he took to reject the recommendation to refuse the appeal by Ineos despite over 5000 people objecting.
Petrochemical giant Ineos wants to shut a section of the A904, which runs through the heart of its Grangemouth site, to improve safety and attract new firms to base themselves there.
Permission was initially refused by Falkirk Council but Holyrood Minister Kevin Stewart went against Planning and Environmental Appeals Division recommendations not to grant the application to allow Ineos to construct two security gatehouses and security fencing on a section of Bo’ness Road – meaning it has allowed the company to move a step closer towards its ultimate goal of permanently closing off the road.
The appeal was considered by a public inquiry which took place on February 27, 2018 and a hearing which took place on March 14, 2018 by appointed reporters Allison Coard and Elspeth Cook.
BRAG spokesperson Ian Peattie said: “BRAG were protesting against the decision of the Scottish Government Minister to overrule the recommendations of the Reporters to refuse Ineos planning permission to build security gatehouses and fencing across the Bo’ness Road, Grangemouth.
“BRAG are angry not only at the Minister’s decision but also his undermining of local democracy. All the objections that the local community made, the petitions, the letters of objections were all cast aside in favour of big business.
“Although the Minister did come across to speak to us he would not discuss his reasons saying that the Ministerial of Code of Conduct prevented him from doing so.
“This is the second time that he has overruled a recommendation from the Reporters. The other being a proposal from SEPA to limit the level of flaring from Ineos. It seems that the interests of the billionaire owner of Ineos, who doesn’t stay in the country or pay taxes, are more important than the local residents.”