New Falkirk Council HQ: Come back with a definite plan

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A councillor was threatened with expulsion from a meeting as discussions about a new Falkirk Council HQ boiled over.

The council’s executive on Tuesday descended into a verbal battle between SNP group members and committee convener Dennis Goldie as they looked at an update of the strategic property review.

During one heated exchange with Mr Goldie, council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “This is ridiculous the leader of the council is denied a chance to speak.”

The review proposed the council reduce its front office premises from 12 to five and, in one scenario, create a small scale new build office HQ of around 100 workstations and an arts centre on the Municipal Buildings site with refurbishment of existing office buildings, including Abbotsford House and a vacant space at the Falkirk Stadium, for use by back room staff.

When the convener asked for members to show some respect for the chair, Councillor David Alexander responded: “I have respect for the chair, but I have a problem with the individual sitting in it – simply because you should not be there.”

Councillor Alexander received two warnings he would be forced to leave the room, as the SNP group – who, despite being the administration, do not hold a majority on the executive – found their proposals outvoted.

Councillor Goldie moved refurbishment of Falkirk Stadium or Abbotsford be refused and the administration bring back a definitive report on the HQ issue at the August 14 meeting.