Amaz-ING adventure stumbled in downturn

Bo'ness town centre.
Bo'ness town centre.

A new retailer has expressed an interest in opening in Bo’ness town centre.

Falkirk Council heard this week that a business was interested in expanding into Bo’ness but the council remained tight- lipped about who the potential shop owner might be.

The news came as the latest update to the town centre’s regeneration plan was revealed – which blamed bad market conditions for the lack of progress on a number of projects across the district.

In Bo’ness, the townscape heritage initiative has now been completed and the project was praised for regenerating the town’s historic core in line with the community’s aspirations.

However, plans for the harbour and foreshore were postponed due to the economic downturn.

The meeting heard the site remains attractive in terms of location and aspect but the high remediation costs associated with the area’s industrial past continues to have an impact on the ability to deliver future developments.

Councillor Sandy Turner said: “Since ING walked away from the harbour regeneration, which is in effect part of the town centre, there has been nothing happening.

“The difficulty is attracting a developer, given the large amount of work required, because it is a brownfield site.

“The economy may be improving but there is very little sign of that in the construction industry locally and I don’t envisage a lot happening for a long time.”

The council is now planning to review and prepare development opportunities that exist in Bo’ness.

However, councillor Brian McCabe slammed the lack of progress.

He said: “With regeneration postponed, as stated in the council’s report, a feasibility exercise to ‘establish 
developer interest’ is now being initiated.

“Should we not be a bit further down the road of actually having a firm proposal for the town centre?”

Councillor Dennis Goldie, the administration’s spokesman for economic 
development on Falkirk Council, said: “We are doing our utmost to enhance our town centres.

“We have achieved a number of notable successes to date and we are continuing to progress our plans.

“As the economy hopefully moves out of the downturn, this is the ideal time to refresh our approach and confirm how we can take real opportunities for our town centres forward.”