Cumbernauld Morrisons may be approved for “political reasons” by councillors despite ‘refusal’ recommendation

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 20:10 on 16 May 2014.
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An artist's rendition of the proposals. Copyright: Morrisons.

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MORRISONS may be given planning permission, in principle, to construct a new store in Cumbernauld – despite planners at North Lanarkshire Council recommending planning permission be refused.

Sources familiar with the application and with close connection to the application have told Cumbernauld Media that the development is likely to get the go ahead due to “political reasons”.

One source described the planner’s recommendation as “backwards” and ridiculed the case made by the planning report that the development would be out of the town centre, pointing out that there’s no “viable space at the town centre – it’s all full”.

Meanwhile, another source has said that the development will be approved, in principle, because of “political pressure” – he pointed to representations made by various groups and individuals, most of which supported the proposals by Morrisons. He suggested that the development will be “made sure” to be given backing as rejecting the proposals could lead to political ramifications from residents in Westfield and Cumbernauld who already feel let down by the authority.

In recommending that councillors reject the plans – set out in application for a “Proposed Foodstore (5453m2 GFA) (Class 1), Petrol Station, Car Parking and additional Mixed Use Options including: Retail (Class 1); Financial, Professional or Other Services (Class 2); Restaurant (Class 3); Hotel (Class 7); Assembly & Leisure Uses (Class 11); Non−Residential Institution (Class 10); and/or Sui Generis Uses (eg Hot Food Takeaway I Drive Thru), Landscaping, Access and Associated Works” – a report from the authority’s planning department point to the fact that the new store would be outside of Cumbernauld town centre, adding that such a new development would be simply too large.

Justifying the recommendation of refusal, the planning report notes: “The proposed retail and mixed use developments are not considered acceptable in terms of the principles of the approved Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan2012 or the criteria set out in the relevant policies of the adopted North Lanarkshire Local Plan 2012.”

The report adds: “The proposed food store and other mixed use options are of a scale that undermines planning policies directing such development to the Network of Centres and is likely to adversely affect the vitality and viability of the Network of Centres identified for protection under policy RTC1.”

A special planning hearing meeting will be held in Motherwell on Monday morning (19th May), followed by an extraordinary meeting of the full council who will endorse whichever decision is passed by the planning hearing meeting.

Morrisons have said that they are “disappointed” to hear about the recommendation contained within the planning report, but the firm say they will await the outcome of the hearing; a decision which could bring to or lose up to 300 new jobs for Cumbernauld.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are disappointed with the officer’s recommendation and await the outcome of the committee.” 
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