Confirmation that popular Italian restaurant chain Tony Macaroni would definitely not be coming to Falkirk left pasta lovers less than pleased.
Landowners claimed an attempt to bring a branch to a vacant site in Grahams Road fell through because council planners were against the look of the development.
Harvey Fields, of Eskgate Ltd, said the deal to bring Tony Macaroni to the town actually hit the skids some time ago due to differences of opinion over the proposed style of the building which would have been located on land to the south of 58 Grahams Road.
Mr Fields said: “It took us two years to actually get planning consent. Companies like Tony Macaroni have to have a certain style and we went back to Falkirk Council planners again and again with different variations, but none of them were what they were looking for.”
The landowner added the council was leaning towards a development that looked more like a house than anything else and this did not sit well with Tony Macaroni and they walked away from the deal over a year ago.
“We have owned the site for 12 years,” said Mr Fields. “And whatever style of development is proposed it’s not what the council is looking for.”
Things looked positive back in August 2017 when Falkirk Council planning committee actually granted planning permission for the Tony Macaroni development.
At the time Councillor John McLuckie said: “I don’t see anything about this plan that would lead to concern over visual impact. We only have one tree that will be coming down so I see no reason to go against officer’s recommendations to grant this application.”
There were calls to erect an eight foot high fence to screen neighbours off from the development, but it was felt the standard 6ft 6ins fence would suffice.
Before the application was granted there was a visit to the proposed location where the planning committee heard the site, because it had been vacant for well over a decade, had issues with anti-social behaviour, which it was hoped would come to an end if it was developed.
There were objections from neighbours during the visit, with concerns being raised over potential noise, odours and pollution. One resident also said there were already too many restaurants in the area.
It was stated if the development was given the green light it should be “well landscaped” using current features of the surrounding area where possible.
Officers recommended planning permission be granted – which the committee agreed with – subject to a number of conditions.
These included details of the materials to be used on the external surfaces of the buildings having to be submitted and approved by the planning authority prior to any work commencing on site.
Work was also not allowed to start until details of landscaping works, including the location and design of walls, fences and gates, were submitted to and approved by planners.
Tony Macaroni had been looking at the Grahams Road site, a former car sales outlet, to open its latest premises and had been negotiating the terms of a leasing agreement with Eskgate Limited and architects John Russell Partners on the design of the building for over two years.
John Russell voiced concerns at the time the multiple delays in the process would result in Tony Macaroni walking away from the site and this unfortunately proved to be the case.
Tony Macaroni has around a dozen restaurants throughout Scotland, including Braehead, Dundee, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston and Motherwell.