Coun­cil lam­basted for sell­ing park land

Ap­pli­ca­tion to change park land into pri­vate gar­dens

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

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.

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