A £17 million project to create a new “urban quarter” on the eastern side of Falkirk has been unveiled.
Falkirk Council said the plans aim to stimulate a mix of business and leisure development over a 376-acre area to regenerate the gateway entrance into the town and create better connections with its centre, Grangemouth and the wider Central Belt.
It said plans for more environmentally-friendly infrastructure in the area will attract other private investors. The development area takes in sites that encompass the Gateway, Falkirk Community Stadium, land earmarked for the new £70m Forth Valley College campus and the home of the Kelpies, Helix Park.
Leader of Falkirk Council, councillor Craig Martin, said: “These exciting plans for a new sustainable urban quarter signal another step in the transformation of Falkirk’s economic fortunes.
“The gateway is a prime site to attract jobs, investment and development. There’s huge investment potential for developers across tourism, business and leisure.”
The council said its proposed plan aims to use low carbon technologies to build a more sophisticated infrastructure across the area that will enable further development, support traffic flow and attract private investment.
It will create the UK’s first circular elevated pedestrian and cycle crossing, which will support the upgrade of the road network connecting each of the Gateway sites. Another feature is the development of waterways along landscaped pedestrian pathways.
Funding from Falkirk Council’s £67m tax incremental financing (TIF) scheme and other external sources will fund the programme of infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income expected to be generated by the resulting regeneration and development around the gateway area.
The first phase of the programme is planned to start in 2017 and will focus on enabling works to form an extension of the town towards Helix Park and the Stadium, within a zone that supports the new college works, due to commence in 2017.
Awarded to Falkirk Council in 2013, the Falkirk TIF is expected to lever in £413m in private investment over 25 years, creating almost 6,000 jobs in the area. Another phase of works under the TIF aims to upgrade access at Junction 5 in Grangemouth to support the development of new industrial properties at Forth Ports and a new headquarters for Ineos.