Locals fight bus plans

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OBJECTIONS have been lodged by Bo’ness residents over plans to site a bus depot on their doorstep, and councillors will now visit the proposed location before taking a decision.

First Scotland East wants to relocate from Linlithgow and is seeking permission for a new facility off Bridgeness Road, to park, fuel and wash up to 15 buses.

It’s reached an agreement with DJ Manning Auctioneers to lease an existing industrial yard at its Carriden base, recently used for caravan storage.

If the depot’s approved, buses are expected to run to and from it between 5am and 1am, and it’s hoped to create at least two new jobs.

But 19 letters have been lodged with Falkirk Council, with concerns including traffic noise and volume, plus vehicle movement during the night.

Other issues raised included existing parking problems, there being better sites elsewhere in Bo’ness, diesel spills and it historically being a residential area.

The application was called into Wednesday’s planning committee for consideration by Councillor John Constable.

In a report to members, development services director Rhona Geisler recommended planning permission be granted. She concluded the proposals accorded with the Development Plan and there were no material considerations warranting a refusal of permission.

Her green light recommendation was subject to conditions, including only starting the development after the submission, and approval of, a noise protection scheme for residential properties.

On Wednesday councillors agreed to visit the site before making their minds up.

This will take place in the next couple of weeks, with the application potentially coming back to committee for a final decision on April 20.

John Gorman, operations director for First in Scotland East told the Bo’ness Journal: “We await the judgement from the planning committee.

“We can assure residents that concerns highlighted within the objections will be unfounded as we are very environmentally aware and a responsible company.”

He added: “We are looking to secure the future of our business and employment of our staff within this area and the site identified in Bo’ness best suits our needs following an extensive search.

“Should we be successful in securing planning permission this would also improve bus links for Bo’ness residents.”