Plan plea

Pro­posal should be‘ called in’, ar­gue pro­tes­tors

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

Pro­tes­tors to the con­tro­ver­sial Gil­bert field hous­ing de­vel­op­ment have called on the Scot­tish Govern­ment to put a halt to the scheme.

They want min­sters to look at the project, which was granted plan­ning per­mis­sion by South La­nark­shire Coun­cil in March.

Pro­tes­tors to the con­tro­ver­sial Gilbertfield hous­ing de­vel­op­ment have called on the Scot­tish Govern­ment to put a halt to the scheme.

The 386-house de­vel­op­ment was granted plan­ning per­mis­sion by South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee on March 28.

But some of the 1300 peo­ple who protested against the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion have called on the Scot­tish Govern­ment to “call in” the pro­posal, ar­gu­ing South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s as­sess­ment was flawed.

Cam­bus­lang-based plan­ner Dave Sut­ton and Stephen Tow­ill, who led the fight against the Per­sim­mon Homes ap­pli­ca­tion, have both writ­ten to Kevin Ste­wart MSP, min­is­ter for lo­cal govern­ment and hous­ing, ask­ing that he in­ter­vene.

The pair raise a num­ber of is­sues with the min­is­ter and say an in­de­pen­dent panel should be called in to as­sess the mer­its of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.

Con­cerns raised by Stephen and Dave in­clude the coun­cil’s pass­ing of a 386-house de­vel­op­ment, for which the cer­ti­fied plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion states 237 units.

They say a prom­ise for af­ford­able hous­ing on the site does not meet the re­quire­ments of the lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan and fur­ther that the prom­ise of af­ford­able hous­ing on the site fet­ters the coun­cil’s abil­ity to de­ter­mine the sub­se­quent plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion fairly.

Stephen and Dave fur­ther ar­gue that the scale and na­ture of the de­vel­op­ment means an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment was re­quired.

This, they say, is nec­es­sary to pro­vide an over­view of the many spe­cial­ist en­vi­ron­men­tal re­ports and to pro­vide a re­me­di­a­tion strat­egy to ad­dress con­tam­i­na­tion and pol­lu­tion they be­lieve are ev­i­dent on site.

Stephen said: “I - and the lo­cal com­mu­nity - are sym­pa­thetic to the fact that there is an iden­ti­fied need for hous­ing in the UK and that lo­cal coun­cils may be un­der pres­sure to meet tar­gets. How­ever th­ese tar­gets can’t be forced in ways that re­sult in the plan­ning pro­ce­dures be­ing rushed or re­laxed, or ig­nored and abused, as this will in­evitably have detri­men­tal im­pacts on the com­mu­ni­ties.”

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil head of plan­ning and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Pauline El­liott, said: “We are con­fi­dent that the ap­pli­ca­tion for the Gilbertfield site was dealt with en­tirely cor­rectly through­out the plan­ning process.”

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokeswoman said: “It is open to any­one to seek min­is­te­rial in­ter­ven­tion in a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Min­is­ters would con­sider in­ter­ven­ing only in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances and would nor­mally only be­come in­volved in cases that raise is­sues of na­tional as op­posed to lo­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

“Min­is­ters are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing a re­quest to call-in the ap­pli­ca­tion and it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment on the specifics of the case.”

Fight goes on Stephen Tow­ill hopes the Scot­tish Govern­ment will over­turn the de­ci­sion to build new houses at Gilbertfield

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