Le­gal agree­ment work car­ries on

Gil­bert­field hous­ing con­tro­versy

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

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

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