Local authority planners and community councillors are against Scottish Fire and Rescue Service plans to develop its former Maddiston HQ for housing.
Officers from Falkirk Council’s planning department have recommended the planning committee refuse the service’s application for planning permission in principle to work on the 3.8 hectare site so up to 90 houses – a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced units – can be built there.
The planner’s reason for refusing the application, which comes before the committee on Wednesday, February 20, is the site is located at the core of the village of Maddiston and offers a brownfield opportunity for retail, business or community use, which would provide necessary improvements to the range of facilities available in a growing community.
According to planning officers the proposed residential development would “prejudice” development of the site for retail, business or community use.
Maddiston Community Council also objected to the plans on a number of grounds, stating Maddiston and Rumford has a population of approximately 5000 people and there is a lack of community facilities to accommodate the population, particularly for young people – the proposed development would only make this problem of lack of community facilities worse.
They also feel the application site, on the west side of Main Street, is the last remaining vacant location where community facilities could be developed.
According to the planning officers’ report Maddiston Community Council is currently seeking support and funding with a view to developing community facilities at the application site and want the area safeguarded for this purpose.
Community councillors feel the proposal would result in the loss of the only significant car parking area in Maddiston and would be detrimental to road safety due to traffic speeds.
They also stated there is not sufficient school capacity to accommodate the proposed development.
If the planning committee went against officers’ recommendations and was minded to grant permission for the application to go ahead, there would be a requirement for a developer contribution towards education provision at Braes High School, Maddiston Primary School and relevant nursery provision.
Falkirk Council Children’s Services reported the proposed development would impact on capacity pressures at these schools, but that impact could be mitigated by means of a
developer contribution of £2600 per unit towards education provision at Maddiston Primary, £2100 per unit towards provision at Braes High and £700 per unit towards nursery provision.
The former fire and rescue services headquarters closed its doors for good on January 26, 2016 and it was stated the building was to be sold off as part of plans to cut costs and increase frontline services across the country.
When it was still operational, Maddiston had control room staff, qualified firefighters who trained recruits and maintained fire engines and other equipment on site.
Following the closure three years ago, staff moved to a newly refurbished control room in Edinburgh.
At the time SFRS chief officer Alasdair Hay said: “As well as equipping our highly trained control staff with the latest modern technology, it will also give them wider exposure to the full range of incidents the service is likely to attend, improving our operational response.
“This will increase the capacity and resilience of our control rooms and ensure the safety of communities.”