Councillors have agreed to purchase Callendar Square and use the site to build the replacement town hall to serve the Falkirk area.
Today’s Special Council meeting (23/05/23) considered a report that put forward the High Street retail and leisure centre as its preferred location for the town hall.
Officers outlined how the multi-million-pound project could bring transformational change to the town centre and act as a catalyst for wider regeneration.
The proposed site was chosen after discussions with various landowners identified several options. Callendar Square and the Antonine Hotel emerged as the strongest and most suitable location, and an acceptable price has now been negotiated with the owner. The cost remains commercially confidential at this time but will be made public as soon as possible.
Work could start by 2026
Construction of the new Falkirk town hall will potentially begin in 2026 once the site had been legally acquired, existing retailers relocated, and buildings demolished.
The Callendar Square car park will not be included in the deal and will continue to be operated by the existing owners. Falkirk Council will retain a first option to purchase the facility should it ever be offered for sale in the future.
The purchase of Callendar Square?will allow the former Municipal Buildings site to be marketed by the Council for sale - providing part funding for the Town Hall project and further regeneration in the town centre. In addition, the Council will receive a £6m contribution for the project from Scottish/UK governments as part of the 'Falkirk Growth Deal'.
The new Falkirk Town Hall would also include a new central library, support Hub, civic centre, and a small office space and will provide a fulcrum for arts, culture, and heritage for the area. Previous work indicates that the value of economic activity generated by the new facility could reach more than £7m per year with £5.5m per year retained in the local area.
Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said:
“This is a really significant day for our area. The replacement Falkirk Town Hall has been debated for many years and so it was brilliant to see the wide and deep support for this proposal both amongst Councillors, and the town centre community.
“The Callendar Square site is the best one for Falkirk Council. It is big enough for our needs, it will provide a prominent location that will improve the look and feel of the town centre, and the removal of vacant retail space will improve demand for shopping space in the High Street.
“Once built the new town hall will act as an economic catalyst for our town centre and the wider area and will draw in residents and visitors from across central Scotland.
“The new venue will offer many other amenities – a new library to support learning; a small office space that will help us to deliver our services; a support hub that communities access important support as well as a new civic centre.
“This project demonstrates Falkirk Council’s commitment to culture, growth and town centre regeneration. It will provide a symbol of our unity and be a testament to our dedication to building a stronger, more vibrant Falkirk area.”