Developer lodges plans to create jobs near Drum estate

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DEVELOPER Mactaggart and Mickel has submitted detailed plans to Falkirk Council to build 37 eco-friendly business units on farmland at a key entrance into Bo’ness.

The firm got outline consent for the 13 hectare Drum Business Park south of Grahamsdyke Road in 2007 but this week details emerged of a potential five-phase build, which could start in 2014.

Mactaggart and Mickel propose chiefly two-storey units with sloping roofs, designed for office or light industrial or workshop use, bound by a woodland belt to the south, east and west.

Two ponds could be sited by the road to the north - one with a drainage function - and trees and parking would be scattered throughout, with vehicle access off the roundabout. A cycle network is also planned.

The firm would not be drawn as to whether potential businesses were already lined up, and there is no fixed timescale yet for each of the phases.

But Mactaggart and Mickel’s strategic land and planning manager David Jewell said they were “fully committed” to creating a new employment gateway to the town, and were actively promoting the available opportunities.

In the current economic climate, nearly all business park proposals needed commitment from future tenants or potential owners prior to the build starting, he said.

But consideration would also be given to speculative building in the future subject to market conditions.

“The business park has been an important component of the overall Drum project since inception and will remain so,” he said.

“This is the next stage of the planning process and we would hope with the benefit of planning consent that this will encourage and support the business park development particularly when market conditions improve.”

Bo’ness Labour Councillor Adrian Mahoney said: “It has had outline consent for a number of years - I will be interested in seeing the detail and look forward to looking over that. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what could happen as part of the planning process.”

Bo’ness SNP Councillor Sandy Turner said: “It’s of such a scale and in such an important location that I think that this has to come before the planning committee.

“I’m cautiously welcoming it but no final decision should be made without the planning committee visiting the site.”

Outline permission was also granted in 2007 for a hotel and leisure facilities and Mr Jewell said there might be applications in the future to develop further uses at the site.

nThe proposed business park is part of a wider Drum masterplan development.

Patrick Cadell of Grange Estates said this week they plan to start phase two of The Drum housing construction by September.

Consent is in place for 181 homes and talks are continuing with a Scottish developer about a joint venture.

Construction, and payment of a £200,000 community contribution would be on a staggered basis.