Councillors clash over glen protection

Viewpark people want to continue to enjoy walks in the area.
Viewpark people want to continue to enjoy walks in the area.

Councillors have clashed over a move to protect publicly-owned land in Viewpark Glen from developers.

For years local people who enjoy the open space have watched in dismay as the expansion of Strathclyde Business Park and M8 upgrade have resulted in the loss of fields and woodland.

Viewpark Conservation Group has been examining the idea of a community buyout so that generations to come can enjoy the area for walking, fishing and other activities.

Thorniewood SNP councillor Steven Bonnar last week sought an assurance that North Lanarkshire Council would “commit to preserving and protecting the area commonly known as Viewpark Glen under its ownership”.

However, his motion at the full council meeting, though supported by SNP colleagues, was defeated by the authority’s ruling Labour group, with an amendment to his motion being passed instead.

Councillor Bob Burrows, who also represents Thorniewood ward, said the council’s powers are limited because it owns so little of the land.

He stated: “Viewpark Glen is valued by many families who live near to it and is of historical significance.

“Viewpark Conservation Group has spent considerable time and energy highlighting the importance of the area and identifying famous ruins such as a Roman Bridge as well as tombs which date back centuries.

“The council will continue to preserve and maintain the land around the area it owns.

“A large area of the glen is not owned by us and it was important the council was fully aware of the limited work we can do on the overall site.

“This is a landmark moment for the glen and for everyone who cares so passionately about its future.”

However, Councillor Bonnar said: “I was shocked my very straightforward motion was defeated.

“ Labour blatantly moved a very similar-sounding amendment in a petty attempt to claim the credit.

“My concern is the implications hidden away in the amendment’s weak yet cratfy wording.

“My motion called for the actual ‘protecting’ of Viewpark Glen. Labour’s amendment dropped this key, cast-iron commitment.

“The glen has seen serious development and land loss, so ‘protecting’ is the key commitment the public needs from the council.

“We have made modest progress. There is some minimal council commitment, but no one is deceived by this limited commitment to ‘preserve and maintain’ land which they do not even regard as part of Viewpark Glen.”

Councillor Bonnar said the area the council owns is close to the houses in Laburnum Road and Banyan Crescent and is possibly the most popular part of the glen.

He added: “I used to walk to Bargeddie as a boy and didn’t want to lose a single tree for the motorway development.

“We’ve also seen the expansion of the business park and my concern is it’s open season on the glen. It’s been very disappointing to lose swathes of land and we must retain what remains.”