Falkirk Council has unveiled plans to create a new, environmentally friendly urban quarter under its multi-million pound Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) initiative.

The proposed £17 million package of infrastructure works aims to stimulate a mix of business, learning and leisure development over 376 acres to regenerate the gateway eastern entrance into Falkirk and create better connections between the town centre, Grangemouth and the rest of Scotland’s Central Belt.

The council’s vision for a new urban quarter was outlined in the latest TIF report presented to the Falkirk Council Executive at a meeting held this week.

The area takes in sites that encompass the Gateway, Falkirk Community Stadium, land earmarked for the new £70m Forth Valley College campus and the home of the iconic Kelpies; Helix Park, recognising that, together, there is potential for major job creation and place making in this vicinity.

Falkirk Council’s proposed plan, led by its Development Services team, aims to use low carbon technologies to build a more sophisticated infrastructure across the area that will enable further development, support traffic flow and attract private investment.

One additional element of infrastructure works is an eye-catching feature to create the UK’s first circular elevated pedestrian and cycle crossing, which will support the upgrade of the road network connecting each of the Gateway sites.  Another feature is the development of waterways along landscaped pedestrian pathways that will add character to the area whilst providing a sustainable urban drainage.

Funding from Falkirk Council’s £67m TIF scheme and other external sources will fund the programme of infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income expected to be generated by the resulting regeneration and development around the Gateway area.

The first phase of the programme of infrastructure works around the Gateway area is planned to start in 2017 and will focus on enabling works to form an extension of the town towards Helix Park and the Stadium, within a zone that supports the new college works, due to commence in 2017.

Leader of Falkirk Council, Councillor Craig Martin, said: “These exciting plans for a new sustainable urban quarter signal another step in the transformation of Falkirk’s economic fortunes.  The Gateway is a prime site to attract jobs, investment and development for our area.  With the huge and growing appeal of the Kelpies, the Community Stadium facility and the forthcoming College campus there’s huge investment potential for developers across tourism, business and leisure. Through the Falkirk Tax Incremental Finance initiative, we have the lever to prepare the site for development and create the connections needed to support expected traffic flow and the footfall.

“The latest TIF report shows that we are making good progress with the initiative and will be launching further phases to improve access and support new development in Grangemouth.”

Awarded to Falkirk Council in 2013, the Falkirk TIF is expected to lever in £413m in private investment over 25 years, creating almost 6,000 jobs in the Falkirk area.

Also outlined in the latest TIF report are plans to launch another phase of works under the TIF in October this year, to upgrade access at Junction 5 in Grangemouth to support the development of new industrial properties at Forth Ports and a new headquarters for petrochemical giant, INEOS.

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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