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Cumbernauld's MSP says council “need to up their game” over Dow plant problems

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:37 GMT on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013.

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Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn.

CUMBERNAULD MSP, Jamie Hepburn, has said that North Lanarkshire Council “need to up their game” after a document, which Mr Hepburn received, showed a serious error in the authority’s approval of a Cumbernauld-based waste management centre.

The area’s MSP said that a Council a document, which recommended a controversial waste management and recycling facility, be granted planning permission, on Lenziemill Road, recommended was that the site was “over 250 metre from the nearest house”. However, the town’s MSP has challenged this figure, using the using the Council’s own maps to refute the claim.

DOW Waste Management was granted conditional planning approval in 2005, for the site behind Cumbernauld train station; an issue which has many local residents kicking up issues surrounding the plant, mainly hygiene, littering and smell.

Mr Hepburn has said that North Lanarkshire Council have recognised that they made an error in the planning condition, with the proximity of the nearest residential property actually only 125 metres - half what was claimed. 

MSP Hepburn has also said that the 250 metres figure was a key part of the council’s argument for granting consent, although North Lanarkshire Council have claimed that this information would not have altered their recommendation that permission be approved, in a letter to the MSP’s office.

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Commenting on the revelation, the SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said: “The figure of the closest residential properties being “over 250 metres” was repeated in a number of letters the Council sent me. Anyone who has actually visited this site would realise that there is no way that the nearest residential property is that distance from this facility.

“The Council can claim that this information would not have changed their recommendation, but they clearly thought the distance to these houses was relevant to support these plans, otherwise no mention would have been given to it in the first place. Why does the distance between this site and homes cease to be relevant when it cannot be used as evidence in favour of granting permission?”

Also included within the council’s conditional approval was that permission should be granted on the grounds that there would be “no loss of residential amenity”.  However, last autumn, 95% of over 340 local residents responded to a survey Mr Hepburn conducted; a survey which showed residents felt concerned about the impact of the facility on the appearance of the area.

Similar numbers were concerned about the impact of it on the environment and of the vermin and birds attracted by the site. Mr Hepburn has also been actively pursuing the Council for action to address these issues.

“Also the claims that this facility would not have a detrimental effect on the amenity of the local area are frankly laughable,” Mr Hepburn added.

“This information seriously undermines the whole grounds for granting this site planning permission and I will be actively pursuing this point.

“I also have serious concerns that this facility appears not to have met all the conditions which its planning approval depended on. The Council really need to up their game in dealing with this site and the impact it is having on those living around it.”

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