Mar 2 2011 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
DENNY town centre’s redevelopment has taken a major step forward, Falkirk Council has announced.
The council’s policy and resources has backed plans for the introduction of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) that will allow for the acquisition of a number of properties if required.
At a recent meeting members approved the use of the CPO procedure that helps to accelerate the acquisition timetable.
It also provides Falkirk Council and Henry Boot Developments with a level of certainty of future ownership, therefore reducing potential delays in delivering the demolition of the Church Walk blocks and the delivery of the overall project.
A sum of £300,000 was also made available for use in 2011/12 that will be used for early acquisitions and demolition costs on a number of earmarked properties in the first phase of the redevelopment.
The council has come in for heavy criticism from some sections of the community over delays in the project. The council has said, however, that while the economic climate has impacted on the original plans, a considerable amount of work has been going on to make as much progress as possible.
A Falkirk Council spokesperson said arrangements for delivery of demolition works are being progressed, with both the Duke Street and Stirling Street (Valeview) blocks demolition tender processes having commenced.
Subject to successful conclusion of property acquisitions, the council expects demolition work for the two blocks to begin as soon as acquisitions are concluded.
Additionally, a detailed planning application is to be submitted in the next few months by Henry Boot Developments Ltd.
Councillor Craig Martin, convener of policy and resources, said: “This is a significant step forward for the town and its residents and retailers. By invoking CPO powers we can ensure that there are few, if any, problems that we will have to overcome that could prevent the community from benefiting from our determined efforts to see a successful transformation.
“We are still negotiating with retailers to achieve a mutual consensus over the acquisition of their interests but this is insurance that there will be minimal delay in taking our plans forward.
“We are keen to take retailers and residents with us as we develop the town centre and they will be kept fully informed as work progresses and we can all look forward to seeing the town centre transformed into something that the community can be proud of.
“It isn’t an overnight process and we know that the community has had to endure a number of issues but we are now in a far better position to see this project finally delivered despite the economic downturn and the problems that it has posed for all of us.”
The plan for this project is part of a partnership collaboration between Falkirk Council and Henry Boot Developments Ltd to regenerate and revitalise Denny Town Centre and will include a new foodstore, retail units, a library and improved road infrastructure and pedestrian access.
The council spokesperson added: “The proposals for Denny Town Centre were subject to extensive public consultation to secure community support for the final masterplan.
“The plans support the My Future’s In Falkirk initiative, the ten year economic regeneration plan for the Falkirk Council area, which aims to offer greater living, working and investment opportunities for the local community.”