FBH’s owner launches vision for Falkirk Town Centre

Today Falkirk Business Hub’s owner Alistair Campbell unveiled his vision for a £150m regeneration masterplan for Falkirk Town Centre.

Alistair Campbell OBE, the founder and managing director of property development company Bellair (Scotland) Limited, which owns and operates The Hub, is proposing a redevelopment of the heart of the town centre focused around the Falkirk Grahamston railway station and surrounding area covering some 6.7 acres.  The visionary plans are designed to revitalise the centre of the town that has given so much to him and could stimulate a potential £50 million regeneration of the surrounding area.

The Grahamston masterplan presents proposals for a mixed-use development with two main regeneration anchors: a new Civic Centre to house Falkirk Council and its key services and a 500 seat Arts Venue within the immediate town centre.  New residential (offering a range of tenure options), commercial, leisure and retail space as well as improved parking with a new multi-storey car park, public plaza area with landscaping and link bridge, improving connectivity, are specifically designed to revitalise the town centre attracting inward investment. The plans also include improved transport connectivity with a new link created to the A9.

Grahamston vision - 3dvisual - art centre View 02

Around two thirds of the proposed Grahamston development would be allocated to housing with approximately 15 per cent for offices, 15 per cent for leisure activities such as the arts venue and hotels, and a further 5 per cent for retail.  These figures are based on initial plans.  The masterplan could generate over £50m of direct investment for the town centre and an estimated overall boost of nearer £150m for the economy as a whole.

The creation of 300 new homes could attract around 1,000 residents to the area generating further economic spend.  The regeneration project would also support 500 jobs as a result of delivering the new commercial space and could create around 100 construction jobs during each year of construction.

Grahamston vision drawing - Civic Level 3 Coloured

Commenting on the vision, Alistair said:

“I was born in Falkirk, have worked here all of my life and believe passionately in the long-term viability and future sustainability of the town and surrounding areas. I truly believe that this is a comprehensive masterplan, a deliverable visionary development with flexible components in the form of residential, leisure, commercial and transport improvements.

“So many times in Scotland and indeed across the UK, we’ve seen the hearts literally ripped out of communities by developments that draw people away from the town centre.

“Our vision would do the exact opposite – the proposed plans represent the first major investment in Falkirk since we developed the Falkirk Business Hub.  We know there is demand for business space as we have literally had to turn away potential tenants for the Hub as it’s fully let. This development will help to draw people back into Falkirk’s historic town centre, creating extra footfall for the businesses that are already an integral part of our community and attracting other companies to be part of the next chapter in our story.

“The Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel are truly inspiring and iconic but we can’t ignore what’s happening in the centre itself. Economic development is vital to sustainability and our vision could help Falkirk to effectively self-heal creating a lasting legacy for the town.”

Grahamston Vision - 3d visual - art centre View01

Bellair has contributed significantly to the economic stimulation of Falkirk Town Centre with the opening of Falkirk Business Hub, which is now home to over 30 businesses.  Not only has this created an attractive and highly functional business centre but it has retained one of Falkirk’s finest and most iconic buildings for the benefit of present and future generations.  Bellair also operates a business hub in Grangemouth and has a number of other developments in the area.  Testament to his investment and expertise in regeneration, Alistair Campbell was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to the economy and town centre regeneration.

Alistair added:

“We don’t need to look far to see how other towns and cities have been able to regenerate the hearts of their communities. If we follow the examples set by our neighbours in Dundee and Perth then we too can bring the same economic benefits back into the centre of our community.

“The Grahamston vision could give a renewed focus to Falkirk Grahamston railway station, turning it into a thriving transport hub. It already benefits from links to Edinburgh – which is just 25 minutes direct – and beyond with Virgin Trains East Coast stopping at Grahamston en-route to London.

“It will also deliver much-needed housing for the centre of Falkirk, creating housing stock with the additional benefit of improved council facilities, shopping, business space and a state-of-the-art Arts venue benefiting the local and wider communities from a cultural perspective with facilities that could attract international performers.”

“We believe the plans for the land, which Falkirk Council currently owns the majority of, are achievable. I’ve invested significantly to develop this vision, assess its feasibility and present a viable investment and development opportunity for both the public and private sector.”

Industry experts believe that the project would not only strengthen Falkirk but could also have  a positive impact on surrounding areas including Grangemouth and Larbert. It would allow a more collective vision for the entire district, bringing businesses and communities closer together.

In conclusion, Alistair said:

“We have to stop thinking of Falkirk as a town. The area is fragmented with local communities competing for investment. We need to think collectively and share a united vision for the region. If the population of Falkirk district was considered as one, it would have a population to rival Dundee, one of the biggest economies in Scotland. Falkirk, longer term, should be seen on a city level and the Grahamston project could fundamentally help enable this.”

The Grahamston masterplan is now on display in reception here at The Hub and interested parties are welcome to view the plans.  There has been significant media coverage today and positive support for the vision.  An open evening will be held late summer and dates will be announced in the near future. Alistair and Colin would welcome your feedback – both supportive or constructive – on the plans and invite you to email grahamston@bellair.co.uk or call 01324 614000 for information or to arrange a meeting to discuss the plans in more detail or visit Bellair’s website.