A war of words over who was told what regarding disruption caused by the regeneration of Denny town centre shows no sign of abating.
In a series of letters to The Falkirk Herald local councillor Brian McCabe and council leader Craig Martin have argued over what information was given to retailers about road restrictions.
Now Mr McCabe is accusing Councillor Martin of a “lack of transparency” while he in turn says he has always been “open and honest” and will respond when he receives the required information from his officers.
In a statement issued last week, Wendy Black of Carron Valley Formal Dress and Betty Clark of Forever Flowers insisted they were only contacted by the council officer after she was challenged by another retailer about the restrictions. They are now demanding an apology from Mr Martin.
This week Mr McCabe claimed: “On August 25 The Falkirk Herald carried my letter asking Councillor Martin two simple things – Would he meet retailers and explain how he saw the future of those retailers in the town and would the car park open at the same time as occupation of the new units?
“To question one he replied ‘My intention is to prepare a newsletter’. He has since said ‘I will meet with retailers in Denny when I have something to tell them.’
“To question two he replied ‘The main element of the car park will be open.’
“He then made the following inaccurate comment ‘I understand that on August 2, in advance of the restriction, a council officer spoke to retailers including Forever Flowers and Carron Valley Formal Dress. Both confirmed the closure was not a hindrance and that a level of disturbance was expected in this type of project.’
“That simply wasn’t true. The conversation did not take place. Despite me asking and then demanding an apology for the two retailers who had no involvement in this matter until brought into it by Craig Martin, he has continued to cast uncertainty over the veracity of the retailers’ alleged comments.”
Mr McCabe added: “He does not accept my version of events. In his letter he avers I made a number of erroneous statements. Apparently ‘commercially sensitive’ reasons preclude him meeting with retailers in the town centre regarding potential new tenants.’’
Mr Martin repsonded: “I gave a fully detailed response to Councillor McCabe’s allegations in my letter last week.
“There are confidentiality issues regarding companies looking to come to Denny but who have not yet put pen to paper. As an elected member Councillor McCabe should know we can’t announce names until the leases are signed.
“With regards to the letters from the two retailers named by Councillor McCabe, they will receive my response when I have the further information I have asked for from officers.
“I regret these retailers feel anger or distress regarding the events leading up to the temporary closure of parking places in Stirling Street and it is of some concern to me that this matter is continually being raised so publicly.
‘‘I have been frank and honest with all my responses to all the letters on this subject.”