Brought to book; plans for Cumbernauld’s former Scan bookshop unveiled

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 22:27 on 17 June 2014.
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26-06-2013 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - Cumbernauld Town Centre; Picture shows Cumbernauld Town Centre, from outside North Bus Stop.
Cumbernauld town centre. Picture: Cumbernauld Media.

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THE future vision for Cumbernauld town centre is being set out, slowly but surely, by the centre’s new owners – Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP; they firm say that they looking at a ‘leisure’ angle for the mall; looking at the feasibility of the Forth Walk area of the complex becoming home to a brand new cinema, and looking at better promoting the centre which has brought home the carbuncle prize a number of times. 

Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP has stressed previously however that their plan extends beyond days, weeks and months, with the development of the UK’s first, indoor shopping mall likely to take years before major changes are made. The first of those changes has since been revealed – and, it’s a planning application.

North Lanarkshire Council’s online planning website, ‘ePlanning’, now hosts an application entitled, “Subdivision of Vacant Shop (Class 1) to Shop (Class 1) and Office (Class 2)” – an application which was received on May 28th, which the council aims to have a final decision made on by July 28th.

As part of the planning application, Paul Cullen of Trident Building Consultants – the agents for Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP’s application – seeks approval and permission to transform the centre’s former ‘Scan’ bookshop into one shop and a neighbouring office.

The unit – located at 2-4 Spey Walk – used to house the town’s former ‘Scan’ bookshop, which was built in 1967 by Cyril McLeod Associates architects, and owned by former Cumbernauld Development Corporation employee Robert Soper – who passed away in 2011.

For the past few years however, the unit has lay vacant; rented out for mere days at a time, for council consultations on proposals such as the soon-to-be Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub and special surgeries by local politicians. 

The main reason behind the unit’s lonely past is put down to the rent, which once stood at £7,540.20, in addition to annual service charges of £11,681, although a new sign in the unit’s window promotes rent of £610 per week. 

The planning application from the centre’s new owners means that the unit could be split in two, with the creation of one retail unit and one office space. 

The latest development comes after the centre’s management team confirmed their ambitions to close off Forth Walk to allow feasibility assessments to be undertaken, to see whether the area could host a brand new cinema.

On May 6th we reported how Stephen Hill, the Property and Asset Manager for Belgate Estates confirmed that Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP are determined to make changes for the better; he confirmed that: “Since purchasing Cumbernauld town centre last June, Hamcap has been working on a number of asset management initiatives, including progressing proposals to incorporate a new leisure scheme.” 

In an interview with the Cumbernauld News, Mr Hill said at the time that a feasibility assessment will be undertaken across Forth Walk, by builders and structural engineers, with the area set to be closed in the coming months whilst the works are undertaken.

He told the Cumbernauld News: “Proposals are now underway to close off Forth Walk. Discussions have been ongoing with some of the remaining tenants on trying to find suitable accommodation for them within the centre.”

Mr Hill went on to say that the closure of Forth Walk from the old Mackay’s unit down to the old First Stop Shop would help footfall in the centre and ensure people move through the centre in one direction.

He added: “Closure of the mall will assist in channelling footfall down Tay Walk rather than going off in three directions as happens at present.”
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