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Arka win Falkirk apartments consent

April 27 2010

Arka win Falkirk apartments consent
Arka have received planning permission from Falkirk Council for a development of 10 apartments in the town of Falkirk, Stirlingshire.

The scheme will see an existing stone cottage demolished to make way for the new build in a protracted process that saw local councillors go against their own planning departments recommendation to approve the scheme.

That decision was overturned on appeal to see the “unapologetically contemporary” scheme given the go ahead but Practice Director Adam Toleman remains aggrieved at the obfuscation.  “Our frustration comes when fruitful dialogue with the Planning Department produces a recommendation for approval only to see this overturned by the planning committee.   

“Councillors need to ensure that they fully consider all aspects of proposals before them in as much depth as the professionals who have produced them.  It is not good enough to throw a list of planning policy clauses at a refusal and expect a few to stick.”

Toleman went on to express surprise that the Planning Committee had commissioned a report by external surveyors to counter the views of their own planning department in fighting the appeal, “surely in these times of impending government cuts this is a waste of scare public money?”

Project architect Ryan Marshall added: “Too often key sites in the town have been developed that challenge very little in design terms. This is despite planners trying their hardest to get developers to raise design quality for a number of years.”


#1 Posted by Anon on 27 Apr 2010 at 18:49 PM
Shame it's grim then, possibly the councillors knew best? Maybe they don't want a sore thumb? Planning department 'professionals' are a mixed bag.
Bingo Bango
#2 Posted by Bingo Bango on 28 Apr 2010 at 09:29 AM
Any party with the resources to build a building of this scale should also have the resources to produce a decent visual representation of said building.

If the visuals are there and simply aren't being displayed, then it is a question for Urban Realm to do more to illustrate it's articles.
Jon-Marc Creaney
#3 Posted by Jon-Marc Creaney on 28 Apr 2010 at 09:47 AM
I think the quality of a 3d representation can be confused with quality of design, fees for architects on these develops can be minimal and fancy 3D images costly, 10 apartments is not by any means a large development and 3D programmes and skills are expensive. I am sure there are plenty perfectly good and explanatory elevations and plans that accompany this.
#4 Posted by Anon on 28 Apr 2010 at 10:16 AM
Mr Toleman should consider that ultimately it is not those employed by a local authority but those elected who have the final say; yes that can be taken to appeal, but that is how planning works. It could have gone the other way, in which case those elected to serve as councillors would have had their views that this was not a suitable development within its context and the planning policies they felt this went against upheld. Naturally they are entitled to put forward the best case possible to back their views at an appeal. The system may not be perfect, but it is the system in place.
Bingo Bango
#5 Posted by Bingo Bango on 28 Apr 2010 at 11:41 AM
I agree JM C - but my second point still stands - why dont urban realm get better images to illustrate the thing?

We like pretty pictures, or plans or location drawings or anything. As it is we are left with one low res image that does the scheme no favours.
Bingo Bango
#6 Posted by Bingo Bango on 28 Apr 2010 at 11:44 AM
Also, I am completely confused as to who was objecting and who wasn't...

2nd paragraph suggest the councillors wanted the scheme approved but the planners didn't, when the end of the 3rd para suggest the opposite.

Anyone want to do a quick diagram to explain? Maybe download sketchup and make it 3D?
D. Halsworth
#7 Posted by D. Halsworth on 28 Apr 2010 at 17:21 PM
The original refused application before appeal can be viewed here - - although bizarrely Falkirk's 'online planning portal' seems to use bad scans of hard copy documents. Strange thing in this so called 'information age'.
John Glenday
#8 Posted by John Glenday on 28 Apr 2010 at 17:29 PM
Councillors objected, planners approved... not vice versa.

More soon.
Bingo Bango
#9 Posted by Bingo Bango on 29 Apr 2010 at 09:13 AM
Ah, much clearer now thanks!

A cheelky little edit I suspect?

mislaid subcommittee
#10 Posted by roy on 2 May 2010 at 21:04 PM
This development looks like a tasty city centre apartment block in Falkirk ! , great posistion for main rail access only 20mins Edinurgh or Glasgow.
I have had a look at the layouts they look good and a awaite the price and start dates etc.
I wonder if the delay was not the council but noisey neighbours
Ben Weston
#11 Posted by Ben Weston on 5 May 2010 at 13:17 PM
Having had to experience Falkirk in recent life I see this as a welcome addition. Certainly more design-orientated than the spate of "off-the-shelf" flats on stilts!
tony malley
#12 Posted by tony malley on 6 Sep 2010 at 14:04 PM
From the image shown I would comment that the project is one storey too high.No amount of design can hide this fundamental issue.The 3d image from a different vantage point would highlight this. As a resident of Falkirk for many years I feel strongly that this is overscaled for this particular location.
#13 Posted by brian on 6 Sep 2010 at 16:26 PM
Tried to view this on Council e-planning website, which you can't, because their system is hopeless! I believe they purchased this system from a bloke called Guttenburg just before he invented something a bit more substantial.
tony malley
#14 Posted by tony malley on 6 Sep 2010 at 17:00 PM
A more pertinent 3D view would be one at a vantage point coming down the hill preferably addressing the building face -on.This would underline how imposing this building would be to all coming down the hill.An Urban Design point rather than an Architectural one I know.Context is important.
John C
#15 Posted by John C on 13 Oct 2010 at 17:49 PM
I would disagree here. I can see the section of pitched roof with set-back penthouse replicating the inhabited roof of the neighbouring building with its large dormers, albeit in a more contemporary format. The higher masonry section then serves as a very defined 'bookmark' end and to what already exists as an uncomfortable change in scale between the two storey buildings which begin with the neighbouring building shown in the 3d and the smaller houses which occur to the other side of this project. More pictures and 3d's are available here...
tony malley
#16 Posted by tony malley on 14 Oct 2010 at 16:53 PM
None of the 3D drawings on the e-planning site show the reality of this type of mass blocking out a major vista as one enters Falkirk from the South.The 3D drawings appear to show perspectives not availale in reality unless a large ditch is dug in either road.Best of luck with your Summer job at OMI anonymous John C.If you are a Falkirk resident you should be ashamed of yourself.
John C
#17 Posted by John C on 14 Oct 2010 at 17:50 PM
Tony I invite you and anyone else to easily recreate each of the 3d views on the planning listing in google street view. No ditches required. I wont even dignify your last comment with a response.
tony malley
#18 Posted by tony malley on 15 Oct 2010 at 09:31 AM
The skill in Urban Design as opposed to 3D drawing, is to explain context and appropriateness of Architecture.Any streetscape composite elevation would underline the inappropriateness of the scale of this development.
The object of the exercise is not to produce a highly skilled, though somewhat misleading, 3D view which does not exist in reality.Rather the object of Architecture is to integrate with the Urban Grain of a situation and have a long term meaning within that environment.I appreciate the drawing skill and the section I have seen explains the relationship beautifully but this is a drawing skill.We are dealing with physical problems here.
You should come out from behind your shield of anonymity and explain your motives.
#19 Posted by Anon on 20 Oct 2010 at 15:19 PM
Why does someone require a motive to state an opinion? Maybe the tinfoil hats need retiring here a little.

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