Plans for homes in Polmont woodland backed by Falkirk councillors

The homes are planned for the land in between Gray Buchanan Park and Millfield Drive
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

Falkirk councillors have backed plans that will see 42 trees being removed to make way for three new homes in Polmont woodland.

Members of Falkirk Council's planning review committee overturned a decision made by council officers, who had initially refused the application for the houses to be built on Millfield Road, Polmont.

Planning officers said that the land in question had once belonged to Millfield Estate and had been part of a designed landscape, including giant redwood and black pine among other specimen trees.

But architect Adam Toleman told members of the review committee that the applicant, Oskar James, is committed to making improvements to the woodland.

While Mr Toleman accepts there will be a loss of trees, he said he and Mr James are happy to take the advice of ecology experts to make sure the biodiversity of the land will actually be improved by the work.

New trees that are native to the UK will be planted in the place of any that are lost, he promised. Members of the review committee, who had been to the site twice, noticed it has become a dumping ground for garden waste.

But several neighbours objected to the plans, saying the woodland is highly valued by the community. Local residents were also concerned that the construction work would be disruptive to wildlife and local residents.

Lower Braes councillor Gordon Forrest said he could not support the proposals and he was backed by Councillor Alf Kelly. But Baillie James Kerr, Provost Robert Bissett and Baillie Billy Buchanan voted in favour, saying they were 'minded to grant' planning permission in principle, subject to conditions.

This means that any development will be subject to an ecological survey and a survey to find out if any protected European species - including bats, badgers, otters and water voles - are present in the woodland.

The applicant has also offered to work with a neighbouring landowner to make improvements to the viaduct that leads over Polmont burn to Gray Buchanan Park.

While this cannot be a legally binding condition as they do not own the viaduct, councillors said they hoped to see the work carried out.

The applicant also gave assurances that any construction vehicles will be parked on the site itself, rather on the privately owned Millfield Drive.

As the application was for planning permission in principle, there were no details of what the houses will look like and this will follow at the next stage.

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