EuroPark leaflet sparks anger in cam­paign­ers

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News -

IAN BUNTING

Cam­paign­ers op­pos­ing t h e cont rove r s i a l EuroPa r k p r o j e c t have la­belled a leaflet fo­cus­ing on the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment dis­trib­uted to house­holds “pure de­cep­tion” and “hypocrisy at its finest”.

The “A Vi­sion that is Green at Heart” doc­u­ment was de­liv­ered to homes by prop­erty con­sul­tant CBRE on be­half of Or­chard Brae.

The de­vel­op­ers’ “green master plan” for hous­ing, re­tail and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment be­tween Calder­bank and Carn­broe has evoked the ire of pro­tes­tors in­clud­ing the Wood­hall, Fask­ine and Palace­craig Con­ser­va­tion Group.

Dr Ann Glen, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the group, re­sponded to the dis­tri­bu­tion of the lat­est leaflet by claim­ing: “This doc­u­ment is sim­ply pure de­cep­tion.

“The EuroPark de­vel­op­ment would sig­nal the de­struc­tion of green belt land on a grand scale; it is a profit-mo­ti­vated land grab where her­itage and na­ture are largely ig­nored.

“The leaflet makes ref­er­ence to the build­ing of af­ford­able houses but there are cur­rently 5000 houses sched­uled to be built in North La­nark­shire.

“In Air­drie and Coat­bridge there is al­ready new lo­cal au­thor­ity hous­ing in Cairn­hill, Chapel­hall, Blairhill and Whif­flet.

“Many more such houses are planned but have yet to be con­structed – at Kirk­wood, Plains and Thrash­bush, with more to come at Whif­flet.

“As for the dec­la­ra­tion of new jobs, house builders have their own teams and it is re­ported that those with build­ing skills in the lo­cal area have no dif­fi­culty find­ing em­ploy­ment.”

Dr Glen added: “The CBRE leaflet takes lit­tle no­tice of her­itage, yet the Mon­k­land Canal is a mon­u­ment of na­tional im­por­tance, with the same sta­tus as Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle.

“Cov­er­ing the land with twoandthree- car house­holds will not only lead to se­ri­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal losses and in­creases in air pol­lu­tion, but also cause gross con­ges­tion on lo­cal roads.

“The EuroPark pro­posal, if per­mit­ted, would be an ex­am­ple of ur­ban sprawl on a grand scale, con­tribut­ing to a Los An­ge­les in the mak­ing be­tween Glas­gow’s east­ern suburbs and those of West Ed­in­burgh.

“The new ‘com­mu­nity hub’ would also be an­other blow to ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Air­drie, Coat­bridge and vil­lage cen­tres.

“All of this is against a back­ground of a cry­ing need for green places where peo­ple can walk or jog in ac­ces­si­ble coun­try­side, and ben­e­fit in both body and mind from be­ing amid na­ture.

“The EuroPark leaflet con­cludes with an of­fer of a ‘help­ing hand’ for com­mu­nity groups; is this an at­tempt to buy sup­port for a flawed scheme?

“The EuroPark pro­posal has again been given a coat of green paint to try to per­suade the gullible that it has en­vi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials.

“This leaflet is just hypocrisy at its finest.”

Or­chard Brae claim their EuroPark plans in­clude four new dis­tinct ar­eas of park­land which will be cre­ated across the site’s con­sid­er­able re­tained green space – amount­ing to 55 per cent of the en­tire site – with ponds, river, wood­lands and the canal be­com­ing fo­cal points.

These ar­eas in­clude Mon­k­land Canal, North Calder, Wood­land Es­tate and Com­mu­nity parks with a “re­ju­ve­nated park­land net­work” giv­ing res­i­dents a “for­malised open space to ex­plore and en­joy, pre­serv­ing the best of the land­scape for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions while pro­vid­ing bet­ter paths and light­ing that will heighten safety for new and ex­ist­ing users”.

Scott Gille­spie, Or­chard Brae di­rec­tor, said: “Fun­da­men­tally, we want to com­ple­ment and en­hance the nat­u­ral beauty of the site, not de­tract from it.

“It’s what makes this pro­posed de­vel­op­ment unique and we want to re­alise the true po­ten­tial of those won­der­ful ex­ist­ing as­sets.

“With that in mind, and as part of our com­mit­ment to be­ing ‘green at heart’, we have out­lined plans to cre­ate a coun­try and her­itage park at the very core of the de­vel­op­ment.” Joseph Daly and se­nior man­ager of Low Moss prison, Alan Eas­ton, gave ev­i­dence.

Black was trans­ferred to Low Moss from Shotts prison in Sep­tem­ber 2016 which the in­quiry heard was to take part in an anger man­age­ment pro­gramme.

In ev­i­dence, Mr Eas­ton said he wasn’t work­ing on De­cem­ber 21, 2016, when Black was taken to hos­pi­tal but in­formed about it on his re­turn to work a cou­ple of days later.

He told the in­quiry Black had taken an over­dose and “there was quite a se­ri­ous con­cern for his con­di­tion; there was a threat to his life”.

Mr Eas­ton told procu­ra­tor fis­cal Claire Gal­lagher that he spoke to Black in per­son when he re­turned to work.

She asked: “How did he seem to you?”

The wit­ness replied: “Mr Black was very blasé about the in­ci­dent, he was quite con­fi­dent there was no prob­lem or is­sue. Black, but noth­ing could be done.

The in­quiry also heard Black had been pre­scribed a num­ber of med­i­ca­tions in­clud­ing an­tide­pres­sants and painkillers and had “stock­piled” a lot of them.

Sher­iff John McCormick will is­sue his de­ter­mi­na­tion at a later date.

Black’s crim­i­nal record stretched back to De­cem­ber 2001, when he was con­victed of a sex as­sault when he was aged just 14.

On Valen­tine’s Day 2004, he car­ried out an at­tack on 18-yearold Ken­neth Bail­lie and when the case came to court in 2006, Sher­iff Al­fred Van­net branded Black one of Scot­land’s “most dan­ger­ous men”.

He was also in­volved in the bru­tal at­tack in Air­drie that led to the death of Steven Pet­ti­grew, 16, in April 2004.

Black was con­victed of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice and jailed for five years at Air­drie Sher­iff Court in May 2015, then sen­tenced to a fur­ther four months in July 2016 for as­sault.

On­go­ing bat­tle Dr Glen (left) and her fel­low pro­tes­tors have taken their fight all the way to Holy­rood

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