Council leader hits out at ‘dictatorship’

Councillor Jim McCabe says protestors against the plan were listened to by councillors, but ignored by the Scotttish Government.
Councillor Jim McCabe says protestors against the plan were listened to by councillors, but ignored by the Scotttish Government.

The leader of North Lanarkshire Council, Jim McCabe has accused the Scottish Government of acting like a “dictatorship”.

Councillor McCabe hit out after Planning Minister Alex Neil accepted PD Stirling’s appeal against the council’s rejection of its plan to expand the Mossend railhead.

This was despite the Scottish Government’s own reporter saying it should be rejected as he didn’t feel building should take place on a green belt site.

Councillor McCabe said: “This is a total attack on the democratic process by a dictatorship. We listened to the people, just as we did with the proposal to build a school at Ravenscraig, but Alex Neil has just ignored everyone.

“I am writing to Mr Neil as I am completely disgusted and we want to organise a rally in Bellshill to show the strength of feeling as well as ensuring we have a presence when this matter is brought up in the Parliament.

“This was not a party political issue, the rejection received 100 per cent support among councillors and we will be looking at the legal system as there may be certain elements we can challenge on.

“Believe me, if there is even the slightest chink of light that we can do something about this, then we will be taking it forward.”

Members of the Green Belt Alliance are now discussing whether they can appeal to the Court of Session to have Mr Neil’s decision overruled.

Alison McLeish said: “Members of the Green Belt Alliance have had a chance to speak and we are looking into the possibility of going to court.

“We will be meeting soon to discuss all options open to us and also to see what action the local authority is considering.”