Stenhousemuir’s two SNP Councillors, Steven Carleschi and Stephen Bird, have accused their Labour counterparts, Craig Martin and Charles MacDonald, of “neglect of duty to listen to and consult with the community they represent.”
This came after an SNP motion to consult with the Stenhousemuir community before demolishing the former police station and Registrar’s Office to make way for a block of flats was voted down by the combined strength of the Labour / Tory Administration.
The Nationalists argued that the buildings were an iconic part of the town centre fabric and that the community of Stenhousemuir should be fully consulted on whether or not the historic buildings where the local Parish Council used to met over 100 years ago should be pulled down.
However, a counter motion to press ahead with the demolition even though there is no firm date yet set for the building of the replacement flats moved by Cllr Gerry Goldie was passed by 16 votes to 13 with Stenhousemuir Labour Councillors, Craig Martin and Charles MacDonald falling into line behind Cllr Goldie and voting for the demolition without consultation.
The fact neither Labour member spoke up for community consultation in the debate with Cllr MacDonald not participating at all has angered the SNP members who are now demanding an explanation from Councillors Martin and MacDonald who they accuse of being afraid to stand up to Cllr Goldie and for their own constituents.
Mover of the motion, Steven Carleschi said,
“I first proposed that consideration be given to the conversion of these buildings to housing in 2009 and that community consultation take place over the issue.
Since then nothing seems to have happened until now when we have this unsightly rush to demolish an important part of Stenhousemuir’s heritage without any consultation what so ever with the people of the town.
The big brother actions of the Labour / Tory Coalition Administration are made all the more unpalatable in that the Leader of the Administration, Craig Martin, is a Stenhousemuir Councillor.
Given the matter was a Stenhousemuir issue it is not unreasonable to expect Cllr Martin to outline in his contribution why the community we all represent is to be excluded?.
I am now challenging Councillor, Craig Martin, along with fellow silent Labour member, Charles MacDonald, to state publically why they were afraid to speak up for their own constituents having a say in the fabric and future of their own town centre.”
Seconding the SNP motion, Stenhousemuir SNP Councillor, Stephen Bird said,
“During the debate Cllr Goldie made it clear that the only criteria he was interested in was financial. The earliest projected start date for this project is 2015/16 so I just cannot understand why the Labour/Tory coalition would want to rush to demolish leaving a huge gap in the Centre rather than starting to talk to the Community.
Could we for example save the front of this building as has happened in so many other places? The consultation would only take a few months and the projected dates for housing would still be met.
This is a blinkered approach that if implemented elsewhere in Falkirk district would have seen the likes of Callander House demolished without the people of Falkirk being consulted.
Councillors Martin and MacDonald should now explain why they believe the people of Stenhousemuir should be treated as second class citizens.”