Falkirk Council agrees with locals and rejects Bo’ness homes plan beside historic village but its hands are tied

Worried residents of Muirhouses in Bo’ness were relieved when a meeting of Falkirk Council firmly rejected a planning application to build 120 homes beside the historic conservation village.

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 11:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 11:35 am
Muirhouses, Bo'ness.

Stewart Milne, John Paul, Malcolm Paul and Graeme Paul are seeking permission to build the houses on land to the south of Inner Lodge, Carriden.

Councillors agreed at Monday’s meeting that the village, which is part of the designed landscape of Carriden Estate, is unsuitable for development – partly because of its rich history, and partly because of fears that narrow Carriden Brae could not cope with yet more traffic.

However, the residents’ campaign against the development is not over yet, as the final decision will be taken by a reporter to the Scottish Government.

Developers Stewart Milne had appealed to the reporter to make the decision, stating that Falkirk Council had taken too long to consider the planning application.

The council was still, however, obliged to give an opinion, and residents attended a meeting of the full council on Monday to hear them debate the issue.

They now hope the reporter will take the council’s unanimous refusal into account when making the final decision.

In November, a pre-determination hearing had heard residents arguing strongly against the proposals, saying the narrow pavement and a large number of HGVs using the road meant it was already dangerous, particularly for children walking to and from school.

They were also angry at plans to create another entrance and exit via Gledhill Avenue.

Depute Provost Anne Ritchie, a Bo’ness councillor, told the council meeting on Monday: “I have major concerns regarding this application for 120 dwelling houses in the area.

“It will cause issues with the roads and with the entrance into the new development.”

She was also worried that with other new housing being planned for Bo’ness, Grange Primary School would struggle to cope with demand and a rising school roll.

Councillor Lynn Munro, who also represents Bo’ness, spoke of the huge archaeological significance of the area, adding that the small, village road was already struggling to cope with the traffic generated by nearby industry.

She said: “There’s one thing that’s united this community is its opposition to this development.

“It has caused untold stress in the community.

“I have never had so many complaints about one issue.”

David Alexander, convenor of the planning committee, said the crucial point here was the area was not included for housing in either the current local development plan or the one that will finally be adopted later this year.

Councillor Alexander added that he was disappointed the developers had chosen to put the decision in the hands of the Scottish Government reporter.