Torwood housing plan sparks row

Marbri O'Rourke, George Laing, Jim Paton and Isobel Paton are fighting the plans
Marbri O'Rourke, George Laing, Jim Paton and Isobel Paton are fighting the plans
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Woodland illegally felled could be used for housing if a developer gets his way.

The area in Glen Road, Torwood, was cleared of trees 10 years ago without a licence and was the catalyst for Torwood Woodland Group starting up.

The ownership of the land has since changed hands and now an application has been submitted to build three homes on the plot.

Members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee opted to conduct a site visit before making a decision on the application.

It was attended by the applicant and members of the local community.

Isobel Paton lives opposite the proposed development and is the secretary of Torwood Woodland Group.

Speaking at the visit, she questioned why the councillors were visiting the site again when there had been two other applications to build there in recent years which were refused.

She said: “Torwood woodland needs to be protected and building here will eat into the woods.

“There is no housing need in the area, the road is already very busy with traffic and I don’t think there is any reason for us to be standing here today discussing this.”

Architect Roy Mitchell put forward the application and hopes to live in one of the planned houses - which will each have office space to allow the owners to work from home.

He said: “The design will incorporate some of the trees on the site - we want the environment to be protected.

“A report carried out three years ago showed that over 180 of the 206 trees there had a life expectancy of 20 years or less so they will not be there forever.

“Since refusing my last application to build, 12 other homes have been approved in Torwood, none of which were in the Local Plan.

‘‘The homes will infill a gap site and fit with the existing homes in Glen Road.”

Officers from Falkirk Council recommended the application be refused as it is contrary to the Local Plan and the policy on housing development in the countryside, and did not constitute an infill site.

Local councillor Tom Coleman also questioned why the committee was visiting the site.

He said: “This is the third time we have been here. The site hasn’t changed, the location hasn’t changed - only the development is different.

“I think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ time and money for us to be here yet again and I’m puzzled as to why it was called in for a site visit - this should have been refused.”

A decision will be made at the next meeting of the committee on April 4.