Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub plans look set to be backed

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 01:17 on 7 May 2014.
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View from the Town Centre car park Picture: copyright of Collective Architecture.

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PLANS for a new Cumbernauld community hub in Brown Road, Seafar, on the existing site of Muirfield Community Education Centre have been made public.

According to the planning application, the £8million development would see the construction of community centre, with office space; associated parking; landscaped public open spaces; as well as both pedestrian and cycle paths, in addition to a new play area.

The plans for the project – which would establish a ‘Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub’ – went on public display back in January; and, the response was generally welcoming of the council’s plans to demolish the existing community centre and revitalise the area as part of a £8million development, which would see the area surrounding the centre cleaned up and refurbished.

Under the plans, the classroom half of the complex will be pulled down first, meaning that the community rooms will be demolished first, as works get underway to construct the new building. Then, when it is safe to do so, the second half of the Muirfield Community Education Centre, which houses two halls, a nursery and an allotment will be demolished, with the new complex due to be complete shortly thereafter.

The plans for the site. Picture: copyright of Collective Architecture.

The entire project is expected to take up to two years to complete, with the finished building set to incorporate 1,000 sq. m of office space, 1,000 sq. m of community space and 8,000 sq. m of civic space over three floors.

Indications of the project were only made late last year, after North Lanarkshire Council confirmed, on Wednesday 20th November 2013 that they had applied to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), before Housing Minister Margaret Burgess and Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability jointly confirmed the on November 22nd 2013 that the new ‘Hub’ would receive £4m from the RCGF

Thereafter, the council’s regeneration committee convener, Councillor David Fagan said: "This is an ambitious scheme which we hope will become a model for future community facilities throughout North Lanarkshire.”

He said that the project would establish "more than [just] a traditional community facility and instead become a hub for local groups, social enterprise and community businesses as well as hosting a wide variety of events.”

Presently home to community groups and organisations such as the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Community and Workplace Nursery, Careers Scotland, the ALPHA Project, Community Work and Community Learning and Development Area Teams and Unemployed Workers Centre, the replacement of the Muirfield Community Education Centre will see the addition of a brand new café, with 41 sq. m dedicated to the Alpha Project; 461 sq. m for community use; 54 sq. m for the Unemployed Workers’ Centre;  55 sq. m for Women’s Aid; 103 sq. m for Out of School Care; 55 sq. m for a café; 262 sq. m for the nursery; 985 for social enterprise; and, 231 sq. m for shared areas.

Since public consultation in January, the plans have now been put into the authority in the form of a planning application, which was submitted to the council on February 27th 2014, by Collective Architecture, who the council have appointed as the project’s agent. 

To date, the only concerns surrounding the project proposals relate to the authority’s proposals that traffic flow be directed up through South Muirhead Road, and round the back of the town’s Police Station, to join up to the existing car park. The intention with this proposal was to ease congestion on Brown Road, although some have suggested allowing traffic to pass through Fleming Road instead. 

In their report of the proposals, however, the council’s Transport department summarised that: “The proposed development has been assessed in terms of pedestrian and cycle access, public transport, vehicular access, car parking, servicing arrangements and traffic impact”, concluding that: “The results of the assessment show that there are no adverse transport issues associated with the proposals that would preclude the award of planning consent.”

The project remains to have a decision made on whether it can or should go ahead; the council’s planning department had set a target decision date of May 3rd, so a decision on the project is likely to be made fairly soon. 

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