Campaigners vie to save Condorrat ‘fields’

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

Published at 02:45 on 29 May 2015

North Lanarkshire Council

Opponents have until later today to make their views known. Logo: North Lanarkshire Council.

CAMPAIGNERS who are vying to save a large natural, outdoor space in Condorrat have urged supporters to lodge their objections with North Lanarkshire Council after proposals to turn a popular recreational spot into housing appeared in the authority’s Main Issues Report.

Condorrat resident Lana Wilkinson Whyte has established the Fight for the Fields campaign in a bid to save the so-called Condorrat fields, which encompasses the length and breadth of the open space behind Barbeth Road, and is adjacent to Airdrie Road. 

“In December 2014, I noticed a Proposed Application Notification in the Cumbernauld News,” Mrs Whyte explained.

“I looked up the Proposed Application Notice on North Lanarkshire Council's e-planning website at the time and read, fairly clearly, that the location for the proposed development was a "Site West of Dalshannon Road, Cumbernauld". 

“However, after investigation, it was revealed that the land which Bellway homes are seeking to build upon is in fact the land south of Gainburn/ Summerfield, and west of Airdrie Road. Given the misleading notification, I did not attend the public consultation meeting, in January.

“I contacted Keppie, representatives of Bellway Homes, who apologised for the misleading title, before asking whether they would consider holding a consultation meeting again as they had, whether intentionally or not, misled many of us into believing the proposed site was not where it actually is.”

Mrs Whyte said that she was “looking for everyone's support on this”, explaining: “These fields are regularly used by residents of Condorrat and further are used as an area for walking dogs, and for recreational walking, on a daily basis, in all weathers. 

“Whilst we appreciate the need for housing, to many, many people this is not just a few empty fields. It is an area which is widely used, where people meet and spend time together with friends (of both the 2 and 4 legged variety),” she added.

Mrs Whyte is appealing for concerned local residents and supporters of her campaign to make their objections known by 4.15pm today (29th May), which is when the consultation on the council’s Main Issues Report will close.

Launched earlier this year, the council’s Main Issues Report is an engagement campaign to get feedback on local needs and priorities, on a number of proposed sites and their potential uses. 

The feedback from the engagement process will then influence the content of the North Lanarkshire Local Development Plan, which will guide the outcome of every planning application between 2017 and 2022.

"The plan is a key document for the council and will affect every town, village and area of land in North Lanarkshire," Shirley Linton, Head of Planning and Regeneration explained.

"It will provide guidance on, for example, where we should locate new homes, places of work, transport and community facilities so it's important that we get the views of local people and businesses."

Mrs Whyte explained that interested people can find the relevant documentation pertaining to the controversial Condorrat fields housing development proposals under section 0002/06 of the council’s Main Issues Report. 

As part of the report, the 18.92575 hectare site is earmarked as a potential future housing site, with Keppie Planning and Development appointed agents, and a partnership of Intelligent Land Investments, Bellway Homes Ltd, and Applegreen Homes appointed as potential developers.

Out of 15 pre-considered categories of the site’s sustainability and deliverability, which takes in matters including the land and its ecosystems, the people and their lives, and the economy, assets and viability, only three criteria are met as being positive, five are noted as having no significant barriers or impacts, while the remaining seven criteria are not met as part of the proposed use of the site.

Consultation submissions on the Main Issues Report are due by 4.15pm on Friday 29th May.