Whitecross housing developers given one month to sign or else

Planning convener Billy Buchanan
Planning convener Billy Buchanan

Companies involved in long awaited proposals to develop housing in Whitecross have been given a month to sign an agreement or face refusal of their plans.

At a meeting of Falkirk Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, members agreed it was time to draw a line under Morston Assets’ application to build 1500 homes on the former Manuel brick works near Linlithgow.

Members heard one of the stumbling blocks to progressing the plan, which has been active for over a decade, was Callendar Estates and property consultants VALAD, the administrators for Morston Assets, still not signing up to a set of planning obligations – including financial provision towards a new primary school and temporary accommodation at the existing Whitecross Primary School.

Convener Billy Buchanan, pictured right, said: “They say it is going to be signed but that never materialised. We have got to bring an end to this issue. It’s taken so much time. I know we have to give them time, but how much longer are we going to give them to sign this?

“If we don’t do this it will be prolonged and prolonged. This has already been a saga.”

The matter came before the committee back in February when it was agreed to allow the planning permission in principle application to continue to the end of July. However, the parties still had not signed the planning obligations be that deadline.

Councillor Sandy Turner said: “This application has been dragging on for far too long. When it first came along it was seen as a golden opportunity for the community.

“It has now turned into a blight and we have to do something about drawing things to a conclusion, one way or another.”

The matter was continued to the October 28 meeting of the planning committee with members agreeing to “consider the application further with a view to possible refusal if the Section 75 planning obligation has not been satisfactorily concluded”.