A senior member of the local authority’s administration claimed the town centre would die unless road traffic was allowed back into Falkirk High Street.
Councillor Dennis Goldie made his statement at a meeting of the council last Wednesday, as members discussed modifications to Falkirk’s local development plan (LDP).
The council is currently preparing its LDP to replace its existing structure plan and local plan, setting out the strategy and vision for the area the next 20 years and the detailed, site-specific policies and proposals which will guide the development for the first 10 years.
Councillor Goldie said: “It’s not true people don’t want to come and shop in Falkirk. We have a programme to renovate the buildings in the town centre and that will reap rewards.
“Planners will also have to look at bringing back road traffic into the High Street of Falkirk. If it is not brought back the town centre will die. There has to be some form of bus travel in the High Street.
“If our plans are carried through to fruition they will bring investment and prosperity back in to Falkirk.”
There was no specific mention in the modified LDP of plans to reintroduce traffic to Falkirk High Street, which was pedestrianised in the late 1980s, but in the Falkirk Town Centre Conservation Area Management Plan, published in 2013, there is reference to the “potential for the balance of needs of pedestrians, parking, local access and loading to be re-thought” to promote greater use of public transport and short-term parking.
Councillor Goldie said developments like this should be embraced to help secure the town’s future.
He said: “Our area is well placed for future investment and we have a whole host of proposals and plans going forward. Developers cannot be seen as the enemy or something terrible - the fact is they create jobs and the closer we work together with them the better.
“In Falkirk we need more homes and jobs, but it has to be done properly. We can’t have sites sitting waiting around for 20 years and developers should be aware of that. “If they are not going to develop it then let us have a look at it.”
Councillor Goldie also backed fracking and said it could bring a real boost to the area.
He said: “I believe Grangemouth has the opportunity to become the new Aberdeen for Scotland. Grangemouth was at it’s best when BP was at its peak. There is an opportunity to bring wealth into the site at Ineos and if we do that it brings wealth into Scotland.
“Fracking could bring prosperity into the Falkirk area.”