Six new flats are to be built on the site of the former library in Bonnybridge as plans got the go-ahead despite a councillor’s safety concerns.
Members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee agreed on Wednesday to give Robert Arbuckle planning permission to build the two-bedroom flats with car parking at land to the south of 1 – 9 Bridge Street, Bonnybridge.
The site has been vacant since the original library was demolished and is now covered in scrub. Although planning permission for new flats had previously been granted it had come to nothing.
In a report to the committee, the council’s roads officers said that they do have some concerns about the road, which has “lots going on”, including a mini-roundabout, a Tesco, a garage, the current library and a bus layby all relatively close to the site.
However, overall officers agreed with a transport information document submitted for the site that stated that the arrangement is ‘typical of the surrounding urban area’.
Bonnybridge councillor Bryan Deakin, who is not on the committee, was given permission to address the meeting to raise his concerns.
He said he had been hearing from local people about how busy the road is and how another access point would only make things worse.
He said: “The road is extremely busy – in the last 15 minutes, I have manually counted about 50 cars going past.”
The road leads to a canal bridge that can be raised and councillor Deakin said that as the boating season begins and the canal gets busier the road would become “more and more dangerous.”
He said: “Even just now outwith the canal season, the road is dangerous from getting out of Tesco’s and getting out of the community centre or just travelling along due to the amount of traffic on it.”
He was also concerned that the development could lead to flooding problems but members were told that a flooding assessment had been done.
Another Bonnybridge councillor, Jack Redmond, said while he thought the flats would be a welcome addition, he did have some concerns about access.
He said: “We’ve got Tesco’s which is probably the biggest car park in Bonnybridge, we’ve got the bridge over the canal that lifts up and down – sometimes when you’re in Tesco’s it’s five or 10 minutes before you’re getting out.”
He suggested a site visit but this was not supported.
Politicians were told that the data did not show many accidents on the site.
Councillor James Kerr proposed that planning permission should be granted.
This was backed by Councillor Billy Buchanan, who said that similar concerns had been raised when Tesco and other shops were opened but in his opinion those developments had slowed the traffic down.
“I think it’s important to realise this area has been lying derelict for so long,” he said.
“We’ve been wait, wait, waiting for something to happen since then and we now have an application in that’s been well looked at by our officers.
“I’m quite happy to support it and go with our officers’ recommendations.”