Time is called on Cumbernauld Village Hub project

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 16:39 on 10 September 2014.
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Plans to transform the derelict building were ambitious.                                                                                                                                            Picture: Cumbernauld Media.

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EFFORTS by community activists to see a community hub established in what was Cumbernauld Primary School, in The Village, has run its course.

For the past two years, a number of keen local activists have been looking to convert the now derelict site where Cumbernauld Primary School stands into a brand new community hub and heritage centre for the town.

Since June 2012, various local activists have been hunched over their PCs and drawing boards to come up with viable options for the future of the former primary school building – which is now in a state of utter disrepair.

Back in June 2012, Cumbernauld House Trust published draft plans which would see the site remodelled and fitted out become a community and heritage hub befitting Cumbernauld. And, quickly after announcing their intentions, and asking the public their feedback on their draft proposals, the group began working on the details – which would have seen a new use for the former school in the years ahead.

Earlier this week, however, the project’s main figureheads announced that the venture had ran its course, and that their plans would have to be binned due to its “limited likelihood of success”.

Cumbernauld Community Development Trust – the main organisation behind the project- met earlier this week to discuss the future of the project with partners. And, with an agreement sought from all of the scheme’s volunteers, the decision was made that the group would pull the plug.

The group had recently applied for a small grant to facilitate creation of a Business Plan for the project, as well as a renewed community consultation, and re-engaging with architects. Unfortunately this application was rejected. 

A statement published on the website of Cumbernauld Community Development Trust explains that, “While that alone wasn’t a reason to withdraw from the project, the group realised that it was going to be virtually impossible to secure the required funding within a reasonable timescale to deliver the project.”

The statement added: “Cumbernauld Community Development Trust had also struggled to enrol new members and had largely been operating with a committee of five people which just wasn’t feasible for a project of this size. 

“The development was aiming to convert the former school building into a new Community and Heritage Hub, with office space, a café, heritage displays, a conference room, and a new community space for local groups and sports clubs, with a total value in the region of £3m.”

Adam Smith, Chair of Cumbernauld Community Development Trust, described the situation as “extremely disappointing”, adding: “…it wasn’t a decision we took lightly, but it seemed only right that we accept the limited likelihood of success in this instance and ask North Lanarkshire Council to investigate other positive uses for the site. 

“We thank the local community for their interest in the development, particularly members of Cumbernauld Village Action for the Community (CVAC) who have been assisting us over the last few years. 

“Despite our decision to withdraw from this project, Cumbernauld Community Development Trust will continue to exist as a charitable organisation, working to support the community of Cumbernauld in whatever way we can.”
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