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Falkirk Council rounds on Denny “scare stories”

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April 1 2010

Falkirk Council rounds on Denny “scare stories”
Falkirk Council’s leader, Labour Councillor Craig Martin, has criticised rumours of a potential 15 year delay in realising important regeneration plans for the Stirlingshire town as “scare stories”, adding that: “they may be politically motivated”.

The comments came after SNP councillor John McNally waded into the fracas surrounding the fate of three semi derelict blocks in the town centre by stating that: “The present administrations inertia on this carbuncle is stultifying”.

McNally likened progress on the delayed scheme to “banging my head against a brick wall” and expressed incredulity that the current council have no live “Plan B” to tackle the “sixties monstrosity.”

Martin countered however that immediate action is “not possible” due to a legal agreement signed with developer Henry Boot, which would see the authority incur substantial costs if an early withdrawal were forced.

In addition £2m needs to be found to relocate existing premises and a “severely stretched” Capital programme would struggle to meet these costs without a partner.

Dismissing suggestion that a hypothetical “Plan B” would provide means to break the impasse Martin stated that this would merely further extend timescales as proper procurement and planning legislation must be followed, with no guarantee of success.

Outline planning permission has been submitted and Falkirk Council, with funding from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund, are in process of acquiring properties in the largely vacant blocks whilst necessary traffic light improvement works are set to take place in May.

Admitting that this: “does not meet the immediate and pressing demands of the Denny community” Martin promised the council would “do all in our power” to move the proposals forward.

1 Comment

Brian W. McCabe
#1 Posted by Brian W. McCabe on 3 Apr 2010 at 13:28 PM
Council Officials were asked quite specifically if the regeneration could take 15 years. Their only response? "We don't have a crystal ball."
Notice, they didn't say no.

Action not being possible due to an agreement with Henry Boot is the main reason for delay. Henry Boot have no wish to build anything until the housing market has returned to pre-recessionary levels. So how long is that going to take?
The substantial costs Craig talks of are to 'pay off' Henry Boot for any work they've done to date, which amounts to nil, other than the preparation of a totally flawed masterplan. Currently we as ratepayers are shelving out £167,000 per year to 'maintain' those eyesores you see at the top of the page. I suggest that one year's revenue would be enough to settle Mr Boot's account. Any more and we'd surely be getting ripped off.

The hypothetical 'Plan B' might extend the works timescale but at least we'd have a start date. Falkirk Council/Henry Boot's Masterplan doesn't even have such a basic concept! Utterly bizarre!!

Let me quote from a Council Update newsletter dated 2006, "Henry Boot are expected to have an 'outline' planning application submitted by 2007." They managed to squeeze an application in just before the end of the decade, just under 5 years after being appointed. What a shower!

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