Insist Falkirk Council Planning review approval of 9 house development in Torwood Woodland

Insist Falkirk Council Planning review approval of 9 house development in Torwood Woodland

4 September 2022
Signatures: 484Next Goal: 500
Support now

Why this petition matters

For Larbert and surrounding area, the amount of local greenspace has been continuously eroded over the years. With a growing population, the availability of green space becomes even more important.

Torwood Woods is a key resource for leisure and recreation, regularly used by walkers and cyclists living not just in Torwood, but in nearby communities of Larbert, Stenhousemuir, Denny and Dunipace. It also supports visitors from further afield, many of whom visit because of the 2000 year old broch located within the woodland. 

Torwood Woods also provides an important habitat for a wide range of birds and animals, from goldcrests to buzzards and pine martens to red squirrels.

Planning Application : P/21/0046/FUL

This planning application is to build 9 large houses with associated garages along the front of Torwood Woodland running parallel with the road that runs through the village of Torwood. 

The Council’s planning officer issued a decision notice on 25th June 2021 refusing planning permission on 8 different grounds which stated that the proposed development was in contravention of policies laid out in the “Falkirk Local Development Plan 2” published in August 2020.

Falkirk Local Development Plan 2 - LDP2

The applicant appealed against this decision, and this appeal was heard by The Planning Review Committee at an online hearing on 18th March 2022. Against the wishes of many local objectors and contrary to the submission from Forest & Land Scotland and the original recommendation for refusal from the Council’s own planning officers, the original decision was overturned.

On-line Planning review hearing

Those representatives from the community, who attended the planning review committee, observed that some of the points put forward by certain councillors had no bearing whatsoever to the planning application being reviewed. It was clear that certain minds had already been made up prior to all the submissions being given at this meeting.

Two of the three councillors on the Planning Review Committee who voted to overturn the original decision were, in 2018, charged by the Police in connection with planning irregularities, yet were allowed to continue and vote on the planning committee.

Falkirk Councillors Charged

The location of the proposed development would result in a large area of regenerated woodland being removed, losing habitat for many birds and animals, and having a major negative impact on the biodiversity of this area. The proposed development location currently has mountain biking tracks and established walking paths that pass through it.

Most importantly, there is also a small red squirrel population living in Torwood woodland. This is possibly the only population of red squirrels in the whole of Falkirk Region. 

There are limited resources for the red squirrels at certain times of year, so they rely on a wide range of food sources. Removal of the trees in the proposed development area would reduce the habitat available to them, reduce their feeding opportunities and negatively impact the Torwood red squirrel community. The photograph, taken on 28May2021, shows a Torwood red squirrel feeding in an Elm tree next to Glen Road, which is within the proposed development site.

This terrible planning decision has to be overturned, otherwise another piece of important greenspace will be lost forever, doing irreversible damage to habitat and wildlife and reduce further the outdoor space for everyone to enjoy. It would also set a precedent for further possible development within the woodland area where commercial timber has been felled and instead of re-planting or natural regeneration, development pressure will result.

This petition calls on Falkirk Planning Department to revisit this planning application and revert back to its original decision for the benefit of residents, locals, visitors and wildlife alike.

Thank you for your support.

Support now
Signatures: 484Next Goal: 500
Support now