Plan for 150 homes at park thrown out

The proposed housing site close to Strathclyde Park.
The proposed housing site close to Strathclyde Park.

Plans for 150 “high quality” homes near Bellshill have been rejected despite a promise of £3 million to upgrade facilities at Strathclyde Park.

Officials said such a major development would wreck the greenbelt, but Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle described it as a missed opportunity.

The proposal was turned down by North Lanarkshire Council in June and now an appeal to the Scottish Government has been dismissed.

The offer of £3 million was not mentioned when councillors rejected the application. It emerged when the organisation behind the proposal, North and South Lanarkshire Investment Trust, lodged its appeal.

The 37-acre site, which is not part of Strathclyde Park, is close to the park’s caravan site and Bellshill bypass.

The council said development would mean an “unacceptable erosion of the rural appearance” and would be an “inappropriate, incompatible and unjustified” development in the greenbelt.

The trust argued that there is a shortage of housing in the area and the new homes could be seen as a “continuation of Bellshill” rather than a countryside development. Apart from the promise of cash for park improvements, it also produced a letter from a transport firm willing to provide new bus services in the area.

However, Government reporter Robert Seaton said the development would “undoubtedly” have an adverse effect on Strathclyde Park’s setting and “reduce its countryside appeal”.

Mr Seaton accepted there is a “significant” housing land shortfall, but said such a project was out of line with the area’s development plan and planning permission could not be justified.

Mr Lyle was disappointed by the ruling. He said: “This is an ideal site, next to the motorway, and this proposal would have brought much-needed high quality homes to the area.

“I’m all for retaining greenbelt sites, but when you look across the valley to Bothwell you see plenty of houses, so why not develop on the Bellshill side too?

“If we are serious about bringing new jobs and homes to the area it’s time to look at our planning system and see what can be improved.”