A controversial planning application to build 250 homes on farmland in Falkirk will now be decided by a Scottish Government appointed reporter.
The plans for the new homes on Bensfield Farm – close to Redpath Drive, Stenhousemuir – sparked a petition that gathered more than 1,700 signatures when they were first revealed.
Many residents feared the new housing would mean the loss of a favourite walking route – known as the Squiggly – and there were also concerns that the development would put yet more pressure on health services and schools.
Miller Homes has now lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government Planning & Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) on the grounds that Falkirk Council has not determined their planning application.
This appeal takes the decision out of Falkirk Council’s hands as it is “deemed to have been refused”.
Councillors will, however, have a chance to make their views on the application known at the next available planning committee.
Falkirk Council will be asked to give a response to the appeal and this will be considered as part of the evidence by the DPEA.
The council’s report will include an assessment of how the proposals will fit in with the local development plan and examine other material planning considerations.
Copies of all written representations that were received by the council will also be passed on. People who wish to make further comments can still do so, although these must now be made to the DPEA, not the council.
In its appeal to the DPEA, Miller Homes has said that the housing shortage in Falkirk is “substantial” and that the location of the development is “appropriate given the need to urgently address the identified shortfall in the five year effective housing land supply”.