News that the prestigious Falkirk Gateway Development has been delayed by at least two years has been criticised by the SNP Group within Falkirk Council.
The project which could create up to 4000 new jobs within the local community was the jewel in the crown of the previous SNP led Council Administration.
The first delay came with the failure of the Labour / Liberal Executive to approve the changes required to the Falkirk Council Structure Plan within the timetable laid out by them. This made the Spring 2007 commencement date difficult to meet.
However, the election of the Labour / Tory Administration in May 2007 appears to have been the major problem, particularly after the SNP forced Labour leader, Linda Gow, to admit that she had met with the developers, McDonald Esates only one single occasion since taking office in May of 2007.
In a tense debate within Falkirk Council SNP deputy leader, Cllr Tom Coleman, hit out at the failure to formulate a plan B for the development of the Gateway and accused the Administration of dereliction of their responsibilities.
“Delays caused by the Labour Party at both local and national level has resulted in the council missing the boat in terms of the plan to use the receipt from the development of the retail element first to meet full site infrastructure costs.
However, it is the failure to come up with an alternative that is costing Falkirk investment and jobs.
News that the council leader has failed to drive forward this project is no surprise to those who have witnessed the inertia within Falkirk Council this past year and a half but can not go unchallenged.”
An SNP motion that called for an all party meeting with McDonald Estates and a united response to develop alternative proposals to move the Gateway forward was rejected by the Labour / Tory Coalition Administration.
Councillor Coleman said,
“The determination of the Administration to keep out the SNP despite the fact the Gateway was an SNP initiative leads to the suspicion that they have something to hide.
Having failed in most key areas of delivery it is no wonder the Administration are scared rigid to allow full scrutiny of their actions, or in this case, non actions.”