Legal agreement work carries on
Gilbertfield housing controversy
The legal agreement finalising planning permission for the controversial Gilbertfield housing development will not be put on hold until campaigners exhaust all forms of appeal.
South Lanarkshire Council told the Reformer this week that it would not halt work to complete the Section 75 community gain agreement with Persimmon Homes – the final stage in the planning process.
The local authority was asked by Gilbertfield campaigner Stephen Towill to postpone the legal agreement until he and Halfway Community Council had “exhausted” the complaints procedure and until an independent investigation has taken place.
Instead Pauline Elliott, head of planning and economic development at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “The application has been approved by the elected members of the planning committee, subject to the signing of a legal agreement covering payments for community infrastructure.
“The Scottish Government was asked by objectors to call in the application and it declined to do so, meaning that it is happy with the process adopted by the council as the planning authority.
“With the council and Scottish Government content that the process to determine this application has been entirely correct then the decision notice will be issued upon the signing of the legal agreement.”
South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee agreed on March 28 to grant planning permission for 386 houses on land off Gilbertfield Road.
But campaigners including Mr Towill believe the process for assessing the planning application was fundamentally flawed.
He argues information including objections submitted by six people and organisations – including statutory bodies such as community councils were not circulated at the committee meeting, despite having been submitted on time.
This, Mr Towill argues, amounts to maladministration, whilst the actions of planning officials show bias for the development.
He said the council’s decision not to postpone the legal agreement was disappointing.
“This issue has gone back to the people that failed us, even the complaints are being dealt with by the department we are complaining about,” he said.
“The Scottish Government have washed their hands of it, saying they only deal with cases of national significance.
“However, it’s really important to point out that it is not that the Scottish Government are happy with this, it is that they had no grounds on which to intervene.”
Stephen is awaiting the outcome of the stage two complaint before deciding how to proceed.
Campaigner Stephen Towill lives on Gilbertfield Road