WITH the Planning and Transportation Committee's decision on Cumbernauld House revealed yesterday came a wave of anger from citizens, Councillors and politicians.
As planning applications are agreed to convert the 18th century, Cumbernauld house into ten residential properties some Cumbernauld residents are even threatening to no longer pay council tax.
Cumbernauld House Trust commented on the decision: "Naturally we’re disappointed that the planning application has been approved as we feel our case for objection was factually sound and well delivered. One of our main points for objection was that we don’t believe this proposal is financially viable, and we do genuinely feel that the planning committee’s approval of these plans will put the House at great risk. At the hearing the council entirely dismissed our concerns over viability stating that it was “not a material consideration”, but surely any aspect of a development which potentially risks the fabric of a 280 year old, grade A listed building should be taken into account.
"As part of this argument we also raised concerns over the likelihood of being able to sell these properties should the development be completed. With high levels of anti-social behaviour in the park, and a lack of basic amenities such as a play park for children or even a footpath network, combined with what is expected to be inordinately expensive factors fees, we really don’t believe that these 2/3 bedroom properties will sell for the suggested prices of between £150,000 and £350,000."
The hearing had attracted some bad reactions even before it took place.
North Lanarkshire Council came under heavy fire from Jamie Hepburn, Cathie Craigie, Margaret Mitchell, Hugh O'Donnell and Local MP Gregg McClymont, for their decision to hold the public hearing in Motherwell, and not Cumbernauld.
Commenting on the council's decision, Jamie Hepburn, SNP Candidate for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said: "This is an extremely disappointing decision, which will leave a lot of local people very upset. Cumbernauld House is a historic gem for the local area, and in my opinion, should be preserved for public use, and public benefit. The development of these private homes therefore represents a huge missed opportunity for the local community.
“It is also disappointing that this decision was taken so remotely from Cumbernauld. The Council can claim that this is normal practice all they like, but this just serves to remind people in the area how removed North Lanarkshire Council is from local interests here in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.”
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Angry crys are being echoed all over North Lanarkshire and even a local petition has been started up which, if supported, would see a referendum called on whether or not Cumbernauld should remain under the thumb of North Lanarkshire Council, the petition can be viewed by clicking here.
It was also revealed that the majority of the councillors who were on the committee didn't serve Cumbernauld and one councillor clearly didn't do his homework, referring to the Colzium House.
Cumbernauld House Trust added: "It is interesting to note that every Cumbernauld Councillor in attendance agreed with the Trust and voted for the application to be rejected. Instead the fate of Cumbernauld House was decided by Councillors from Motherwell, Coatbridge, Newmains, and Airdrie. In particular, Councillors Brooks, Maginnis, McKenna, and Taggart, should be named and shamed for their derisory comments, their childish behaviour in heckling those who were speaking, and their instant dismissal of Cumbernauld House Trust. Councillor Taggart also showed his clear lack of understanding of the application in front of him when he referred to Cumbernauld House as Colzium House, which is a North Lanarkshire Council owned listed building in Kilsyth."
"The application being instantly voted down by Motherwell Councillors has only served to increase the lack in confidence of North Lanarkshire Council to act in the best interests of Cumbernauld, with a number of our members calling on Cumbernauld to be separated from North Lanarkshire. Many of our supporters are naturally angry at this turn of events and some are even stating their intent to cease paying Council Tax as a result. And the recently announced relocation of Cumbernauld Archives to Motherwell only reinforces the opinion that North Lanarkshire Council is not interested in the views of the people of Cumbernauld and seems intent on stripping the town of its valuable assets. With that in mind, this is not the end of Cumbernauld House Trust, and this could well be the beginning of a campaign to Save and Preserve Cumbernauld itself."
In an open letter to several North Lanarkshire Council councillors, dismaying their conduct during the hearing, Cumbernauld House Trust wrote:
"You treated this hearing like it was a joke. You treated the house plans like they were an extension to a terraced house."
"You have to realize that you were not dealing with elected politicians but with people trying to do their best for their community."
The letter comes after a shocking performance by Councillors Maginnis, Brooks, Taggart and McKenna, who were described as have a "playground attitude" in a blog post by the Cumbernauld House Trust.
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