Bo’ness housing plan rejected

Falkirk Council has turned down plans to build 225 houses in Bo’ness despite a plea from the developers behind the proposals.

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 2:14 pm

A representative of developers Mactaggart and Mickel and AWG told councillors that the site, on farmland to the south of Bo’ness fire station, would include 75 affordable homes – far more than they were obliged to build.

Planning consultant Colin Lavety told councillors: “This is not a typical housing site we are offering.”

He said the housebuilders were also prepared to gift land to the community that could be used to build a doctor’s surgery or shop – or for any other purpose people could agree on.

Mr Lavety also claimed that after extensive consultation there was little opposition to the development, although the meeting later heard that Bo’ness Community Council had objected and 220 people had signed a petition against the site.

The project was considered by the full council as it is contrary to both the current Local Development Plan and the one that is due to be approved in the summer.

Councillor Gary Bouse said he was concerned that allowing this site to be developed would have a big impact on the forthcoming plan and he felt the application was premature.

Bo’ness councillor Lynn Munro said she recognised that there were many positive things in the application, including the affordable housing and the community facility.

But, she said: “It’s unfortunately in green belt at the moment. I do commend the positives but I do believe the application is premature.”

Cllr Joan Coombes also said it was important that the council stand by its development plan as a whole and that officers had given good reasons to recommend refusal. Depute Provost Anne Ritchie also said she had concerns about the development and especially the impact on education, and she too said she could not back it.

A spokesperson for the developers commented: “We are clearly disappointed at this refusal for what is a highly deliverable development, serving to address the current housing shortfall within Falkirk Council. We will look to consider our options on this going forward.”