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Modifications to Falkirk's long-term structure plan have been proposed by ministers following objections received t...
Modifications to Falkirk's long-term structure plan have been proposed by ministers following objections received to the draft of the strategy.

The structure plan, submitted by Falkirk Council, will shape development in the area until 2020. It estimates the requirement for new housing land, shopping, employment and transport developments and sets out in general terms how and where they should be developed.

The plan has four key themes:

Economic prosperity

Sustaining communities

Environmental quality

Sustainable transport

Some of the key draft modifications include:

* Retaining the green belt in principle, though it will be for local plans to define the exact boundaries.

For housing:

* adding a flexibility allowance of 10 per cent to the housing land requirement in case allocated sites are not developed;

* adding 100 houses to the specified requirement for Bo'ness, which together with the flexibility allowance will help provide for household growth;

* reducing the specified housing requirement in Grangemouth by 100, while also providing the opportunity for further housing to be accommodated through the 10 per cent flexibility allowance if uncertainty over the housing land supply can be resolved.

* ensuring new development at Middlefield Westfield is located on land adjacent to Falkirk's built-up area - west of the northern distributor road (A9) - to retain as much Green Belt as possible. This does not affect the stadium which already has planning permission on a site to the east of the distributor road.

* Requiring the council to review the broad areas identified as potentially suitable for opencast coal development in five years.

* Requiring the council to reflect national policy on the development of alternative energy.

At the conclusion of the consultation period - which ends on 19 December - Scottish ministers will consider the final modifications, after taking account of any further objections.

The Structure Plan is a key component of the development planning system laid down in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. A Structure Plan sets out a planning authority's strategic land use policies and proposals and has to be submitted to the Scottish ministers for approval.

Arrangements have been made to advertise the publication of the draft modifications and where copies can be inspected. Copies of the draft modifications have been sent to the council and will be sent to objectors. The plan will replace the former Central Region Structure Plan for the Falkirk Council area.

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