Plans to revitalise the centre of Falkirk and boost the broader economy by up to £150 million through new housing, offices, retail space and improved transport links have been unveiled by a businessman born and bred in the town.
Alistair Campbell is founder and managing director of property-developer Bellair, which is behind the Falkirk Business Hub home to more than 30 firms, and said the suggested masterplan could create 500 jobs and a “lasting legacy” for his hometown.
The proposals comprise a redevelopment of the heart of the town centre focused around Falkirk Grahamston train station and surrounding area covering some 6.7 acres, stimulating a potential £50m regeneration of the surrounding area.
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The mixed-use development would have two main regeneration anchors; a new Civic Centre to house Falkirk District Council and its key services, and a 500-seat arts venue in the immediate town centre.
Features include new residential property, offering a range of tenure options; commercial, leisure and retail space as well as a new multi-storey car park, public plaza area with landscaping and link bridge improving connectivity designed to revitalise the town centre attracting inward investment.
I truly believe that this is a comprehensive masterplanAlistair Campbell
The plans also include improved transport connectivity with a new link to the A9 and “renewed focus” on Falkirk Grahamston station.
Campbell said: “I was born in Falkirk, have worked here all of my life and believe passionately in the long-term viability and future sustainability of the town and surrounding areas.
“I truly believe that this is a comprehensive masterplan, a deliverable visionary development with flexible components in the form of residential, leisure, commercial and transport improvements.”
According to initial plans, about two thirds of the proposed Grahamston development would be allocated to housing, with around 15 per cent for offices, the same again for leisure activities and a further 5 per cent for retail.
It is also expected that the masterplan could generate an estimated overall boost of £150m for the economy as a whole.
Bellair said the creation of 300 new homes could attract around 1,000 residents to the area, boosting spend, adding that the regeneration project would also support 500 jobs due to delivering the new commercial space and could create around 100 construction jobs in each year of construction.
Campbell noted that in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, out-of-town developments have “seen the hearts literally ripped out of communities”, adding: “Our vision would do the exact opposite.”
He said Bellair has seen evidence of demand for business space, and citing successful regeneration schemes in the likes of Dundee and Perth, Campbell argued that the Falkirk development will help encourage people back into Falkirk’s historic town centre, creating extra footfall for existing businesses and attracting new names.
He added: “I’ve invested significantly to develop this vision, assess its feasibility and present a viable investment and development opportunity for both the public and private sector.”
The plan is on display at The Falkirk Business Hub.
RBS gives backing for Gretna retail development
Property developer Crucible Alba Group has secured a six-figure investment from Royal Bank of Scotland to back a retail development in Gretna, writes Scott Reid.
The £1m project, which is situated on the main route between Gretna and Annan, is offering retail space to let. The rest of the adjacent building has already been pre-let to Co-op Food on a 15-year lease. RBS has made a £555,000 investment in the construction of the development.
Crucible Alba began developing the unit at the beginning of the year. The land, which was vacant for some time, was previously used and owned by a car dealer.
Brian Robinson, development director at Crucible Alba Group, said: “The town of Gretna is a popular tourist destination, with a strong motorway link and an already well-established shopping village nearby.”
Iain Robertson, relationship director at RBS, said: “It is great to see investment going into the Gretna area and rewarding to know that new jobs and amenities are to be created for the community.”