Today (Tuesday) Michael Matheson has joined concerned local residents in expressing his frustration and disappointment at Falkirk Council’s plans to proceed with a £20million “vanity project” as their new headquarters is given the green light.

A special meeting of Falkirk Council was held yesterday (Monday) to determine the project’s fate, and local residents were initially optimistic as early indications suggested the project may be defeated at the vote. However, a thirty minute recess ensued with once fierce opponents of the plans returning to the chamber prepared to abstain, or even perform a complete u-turn and vote in favour of the proposal.

At the vote 13 SNP councillors were joined by 2 independent colleagues voting against the proposed development of the new council headquarters, however Labour were now joined by 1 Tory and 1 Independent councillor tying the vote 15-15. Thus, the Provost had the casting vote and, rather than listening to the voices of his concerned constituents he instead opted to back the administration and give the green light to Falkirk Council’s latest “vanity project.”

Speaking after the vote, Michael Matheson commented on the decision:

“I am appalled that senior local councillors have ignored the pleas of local people and have chosen to proceed with these plans in the face of substantial local concern.

“My constituents and I feel extremely let down by this decision and by this process, and it is clear to us that our calls and concerns have been ignored and that the trust between elected members and those they were elected to represent has been severely damaged by this outrageous decision.”

Mr. Matheson has given assurances to local residents that he will continue to engage constructively with them and will discuss the way forward with them in the coming days.