Stepping back in fight to keep a boundary
Calls for the Scottish Government to intervene in the fight to retain the boundary of Holmhills Wood Community Park have been rejected.
Cambuslang Community Council recently called on the government to ‘call in’a planning application which sought to convert 720 square metres of park land into private gardens.
But chief planner John McNairney said this would not be possible because the proposal was not of national importance.
Submitted by householders at 3, 4 and 5 Grenadier Park, the retrospective application was approved by councillors at last month’s meeting of the local authority’s planning committee.
Mr McNairney was asked to look into the controversial planning application because local campaigners believed South Lanarkshire Council was not able to assess the application with due impartiality.
This was because the council had agreed to sell the part of the park while EU funding regulations were still in place at Holmhills; failed to consult on the sale of the land and failed to advertise the planned deviation of the local development plan.
In a response to the complaint, drafted by architect Dave Sutton, Mr McNairney said:“Ministers do have the general power to call in any live planning application, but in practice will exercise this power very sparingly, recognising and respecting the important role of local authorities.
“Consequently, they would only consider intervening in cases where there were issues of genuine national significance that would warrant them determining an application.
“Having fully considered the information that you have submitted, ministers do not consider there to be any grounds which merit call-in of this particular planning application for decision at a national level.”
But he added:“The fact that an application is not called in does not mean that ministers are giving approval to the proposal or agreeing with the consideration of the council.
“They are merely acknowledging that it is in the council’s area of responsibility to decide on the application and to ensure that procedural requirements are applied properly.”
Given the community council believes the council has not followed procedures for advertising the planning application, procedures attached to priority green space and the local development plan, Mr Sutton says he will be taking his complaint to the Scottish Publics Services Ombudsman (SPSO).
Mr Sutton said:“To build trust in planning process you need it to be transparent and open.
“We can and will go down the complaint of maladministration route with SPSO, but we would prefer it if the Scottish Government actually first applied its own policy for such applications - Circular 3/09 and the T&CP (Notification of Applications) (Scotland) Direction 2009.”