Councillors reject Miller Homes plan

Part of the site Miller Homes wished to build on, pictured from Borrowstoun Road
Part of the site Miller Homes wished to build on, pictured from Borrowstoun Road

Falkirk Council has voted to reject Miller Homes’ planning application for around 200 new houses in Bo’ness.

Edinburgh-based builder Miller Homes had submitted plans to build on land to the north of North Bank Farm – adjacent to its current development at Kinglass Fields.

It promised to create 30 affordable homes, a foot and cycle path network, upgrade and realign Borrowstoun Road.

There were 10 objections to the proposed development and planning officers recommended refusal because the site is not part of the local development plan.

Bo’ness councillor Lynn Munro believed it was significant the community had no great objections to this site while there were others in the pipeline that they had grave concerns about.

She proposed the council say yes to the development and her colleague David Grant also urged councillors to give the go-ahead.

He said: “I’m totally confused – everything we’ve asked Miller Homes for, they’ve given us it. They’re even going to fix a road for us!”

Councillor Anne Ritchie spoke highly of Miller Homes and the relationship they have built up with the community, but said she had too many concerns about the narrow Borrowstoun Road being suitable for the development.

Miller Homes had promised to straighten the road and get rid of the dip in it but several councillors felt that would only make the road more dangerous as people would be tempted to speed.

Planning committee convener David Alexander was among those who had worries about the road and he backed the officer’s refusal.

He said while Miller Homes had an excellent relationship with the community the proposal was “a significant variation from the local plan”, adding: “I don’t think that’s in the best interest of the community, the local authority or even Miller Homes.”

Councillors voted by 16 to seven to reject the plans.

Arthur Mann, strategic land director at Miller Homes, reacted to the decision: “We are naturally disappointed with the decision taken regarding our planning application for North Bank Farm in Bo’ness, but grateful for the support that we did receive at council.

“At all stages in developing the proposal we were met with positivity and keen questioning from the local community and we would like to extend our thanks to them.

“We will now reflect upon this decision and consider our options moving forward with the council.”