Fears over flooding mean Falkirk councillors want to see for themselves how new plans would affect land around Klondyke Garden Centre near Polmont.
Klondyke Group Ltd has applied for planning permission to erect an office, storage building, car parking and a landscape display area. There has been severe flooding in the area previously, a council meeting heard yesterday.
At the first meeting of the planning committee since May’s election, new convener Billy Buchanan, told members that he was concerned that the land around Klondyke Garden Centre, near Polmont, has been overdeveloped. He and Councillor James Kerr both recalled when intense flash flooding caused cars to float in the car park of a Premier Inn hotel nearby.
Given the number of new councillors on the committee, Councillor Buchanan felt it would be best to visit the site and he also called for an updated report from SEPA regarding flooding issues. Members heard that the planning application in front of them was for the landscaping business Cartmore Building Supplies beside the Klondyke Garden Centre.
It was originally going to be contained within the large garden centre redevelopment, which would have seen the site being used as part of the car park. However, it has remained in its original site and now wants to formally extend and redevelop by adding a new storage building, repositioning the office and expanding the display area.
A report from planning officers, which contained assessments by the council’s consultants and flooding team, recommended granting permission.
It stated: “The application was accompanied by flood risk assessment, hydraulic modelling report and overland flow path analysis, which demonstrate that the proposed development would not have an unacceptable impact on flood risk either within or outwith the application site.”
Council flooding officer, Gary McGregor, told councillors that while there is a flood risk in the area, the proposal in front of them does not increase the risk of flooding. He did agree that “outwith the planning committee we need to look at the bigger picture in this area.”
Councillor Laura Murtagh said she appreciated the flooding in the area has been serious but felt it was important to note that what is being proposed is not drastically changing what is already there.
She said: “I don’t disagree that there needs to be more discussion about flooding in the area and more exploration of those areas generally but in terms of this planning application, if that’s the evidence and there has been a flood risk assessment I’m not sure what grounds there are to hold it up any further.”
After a tied vote, convener Billy Buchanan used his casting vote in favour of having a site visit for this application. He also urged members to hold a site visit for another planning application for Klondyke Garden Centre.
The second application relates to the installation of a canopy to cover a paved area behind the main building and constructing a small warehouse to replace a number of temporary buildings in the working yard. Councillors were told that this is a low-risk area for flooding but Councillor Buchanan said he wanted members to look at the size and scale of the development, particularly in relation to flooding.
The committee agreed to visit both sites before making any decisions.