Community fight against Kildrum pub closure proposals

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 22:55 on 6 February 2015

Red Comyn    Kildrum    North Lanarkshire Council

Picture: Google Maps.

A PLANNING application that would see last orders called at Kildrum’s popular Red Comyn pub is taking widespread criticism from local campaigners, politicians and residents.

North Lanarkshire Council received a planning application that would see the existing pub closed and split into two new units – one of which would be for retail purposes – on December 23rd, 2014. The application was validated on Christmas Eve, when opposition began to rally against the proposals.

A public meeting was held in the pub on January 12, before a local petition circulated local doors and adorned the till-points of various points-of-interest in the area, including the Afton and Clouden Road convenience shops.

On January 14th, a spokesperson for the pub said: “Jim Mulholland has arranged a meeting with Bill Dempsey from Kildrum Community Council, at 6pm, this evening, in the pub.”

“We now know that because there are more than 3 objections in that it has to go to hearing at the planning committee,” the spokesperson explained. “The earliest that this can happen is 19th February. However, if an objector asks for a site inspection from the planning committee then this will put it back even further, possibly into at least March or April. Further, at the planning meeting a representative can be sent to plead the case also.”

The spokesperson confirmed that “Petitions are now in circulation at Clouden Rd, Corbiston way, Braehead Rd and Afton Rd shops. The YMCA have also requested one as have Millcroft shop. Asda have also shown an interest and will have petitions too.”

In pleading for more public support, the spokesperson said: “In the pub we have photocopies of a standard letter of complaint as well as envelopes and petitions. If you can think of anywhere else to ask let us know,” adding that Jamie Hepburn had been “asked to get involved”, while Gregg McClymont had “expressed interest”, and Councillor Stephen Grant had “filed a complaint with the council and intends to write to the brewer.”

By the end of January, the pub had been overwhelmed with support, but staff urged local residents that everything was ‘business as usual’ until the “lengthy process between site visits and planning committee hearings” was completed, a post on the pub’s Facebook reads. 

The following day, Kildrum Community Council confirmed that it would stand against the proposals, with a spokesperson for the Community Council explaining that they would “be submitting a detailed objection to North Lanarkshire Council shortly.”

The latest update comes from Kildrum Community Council, with a post on the group’s Facebook page yesterday informing local residents that “Despite concerns that the Red Comyn would be able to transfer their existing alcohol licence to the proposed shop, should planning be granted, we have confirmed with the Licensing Board that the shop would have to apply for a new licence to sell alcohol.”

“We will continue to work on keeping the Red Comyn open but, should the current planning application be granted, we would have the opportunity to make representations to the Licensing Board to avoid any new shop being granted a licence to sell alcohol,” the post added.

Constituency MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Jamie Hepburn, has since set out his opposition to the planning application.

When he first learned of this application the local MSP undertook a survey of opinion in the area, which revealed strong levels of local opposition with some 95% of those who responded saying they were against the application.

Following on from the local survey, Mr Hepburn has now made his own submission to the consultation on this application and has called on the Council to reject it.

“The strength of feeling locally on this issue is clear and the majority who have taken the time to contact me are opposed to this move,” the SNP man said.

He added: “There are serious concerns about the impact that the loss of this pub would have on the community and social life in the area, and also regarding the proposed replacements.

“There is real concern about having a licenced grocers so close to the play-park and the potential of anti-social behaviour and public drinking.

“On top of that the questions about the impact this would have on existing local businesses of a similar nature have not been addressed.

“While there are a range of views on this matter, some local residents regard this application as a positive opportunity, it is clear to me that this application does not have the support of the local community. On that basis I am calling on the Council to reject this application.”