Council lambasted for selling park land
Application to change park land into private gardens
Serious questions have been asked of South Lanarkshire Council after it sold part of Holmshill Park to neighbouring property owners in a deal dubbed underhand by green campaigners.
The local authority sold 720 square metres of park land to property owners at 3, 4 and 5 Grenadier Park for £32,600 in December 2015.
All three householders wanted the land to create larger gardens.
A planning application to change the use of the land from open space to garden use has been submitted retrospectively by Craig Morton on behalf of all three householders, including James Boyd and Richard Cheng.
Submitted six months after the land was sold and after work to erect a fence around the newly acquired land started, the application states: “The change of use requirements were discussed prior to the purchase of the land with planning officers.
“As the contract terms for the purchase of the land from the council requires this change of use to take place, we have been advised that this is simply a formality and that all three adjacent properties can complete the change of use under one application.”
The application and sale of the land has infuriated users of Holmshill Park and the wider Cambuslang community, who argue the land was not open space as stated in the documents, but green space within the boundary of the park.
To date 19 letters have been lodged with South Lanarkshire Council on the issue.
John Bachtler said: “The proposed change of use involves South Lanarkshire Council acting against its responsibilities - under both its own and Scottish Government policies - to protect green space designated as Green Network space.
“South Lanarkshire has also not fulfilled its statutory duty to consult on this matter. It failed to consult Cambuslang Community Council or to take account of wider community interests. There is also evidence that it sought to delay or conceal public scrutiny of the development.”
Hilary Paton added in her letter of objection: “Now you have sold land to three [homeowners] more will undoubtedly want to follow suit, you have set a precedent!
“Additionally I have noticed in the homeowners letter he makes reference to a contact with the council where he mentions this change of use is part of the purchase requirements. Was an agreement made that this application was a mere formality?”
A spokeswoman for South Lanarkshire Council confirmed the sale of the land had not been made public, but said the land had been declared surplus at a public meeting in 2007 and in 2008.
Daniel Lowe, executive director of housing and technical resources at the council, said: “The three plots of land at 3, 4 and 5 Grenadier Park were sold to adjoining owners on December 10, 2015 for a total of £32,600.
“As part of the conditions of sale it was the responsibility of the purchasers to receive any statutory approvals required for future development. It is the council’s standard practice not to comment on live planning applications”.
Mr Morton was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.