Plans to build 22 new affordable homes near Falkirk town center have once again been rejected by councillors.
Planning officials had previously rejected the application for the site on the corner of Thornhill Road and King Street – and a meeting of Falkirk Council’s Planning Review Committee on Friday backed that decision.
While developers G&N Homes say they hope to build ‘100% affordable homes’, members have learned the company has yet to find a partner to work with to build the homes, despite lengthy discussions .
Without a registered social landlord on board, the site is currently not part of the council’s long-term plan for social housing – and that could make it difficult to secure the funding that would be needed.
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When the plans were first mooted, the site was included in the council’s strategic housing investment plan.
But that was withdrawn when social landlords Link said they had been unable to reach an agreement with the developer.
Claimant’s agent Philip Neaves said the company was very confident that once planning permission had been granted, the deal with a social landlord would be much easier.
He urged councilors to approve the proposal, saying Falkirk was in dire need of affordable housing and that a site like this – close to the town center and shops, near a train station and on a bus route – would be ideal.
But there were also concerns about parking on busy roads that are very close to a Central Retail Park entrance.
The developers say the 39 spaces they have proposed will be more than enough as many households will not have a car.
They also argue that being so close to a major bus route means they would not need the number of parking spaces demanded by Falkirk Council.
However, the Falkirk Roads Department insists it is following government guidelines – and in an area where parking is already a problem, it is reluctant to add more homes without enough space.
The development would also mean a loss of parking for people visiting Thornhill Community Center as it currently uses part of the land for parking.
After visiting the site, members of the council’s planning review committee agreed with officers that the application should be rejected.
Although the company may submit a new proposal, councilors said they would prefer to have clarification of the type of affordable housing on offer before granting permission.