Plan to transform travellers’ site

Councillor Bob Burrows (centre, grey jacket) joins allotment holders in Viewpark Gardens to celebrate the handover. Its success has inspired North Lanarkshire Council to seek funding for a similar project in Mossend.

Councillor Bob Burrows (centre, grey jacket) joins allotment holders in Viewpark Gardens to celebrate the handover. Its success has inspired North Lanarkshire Council to seek funding for a similar project in Mossend.

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A former travellers’ site in Mossend could be turned into allotments after lying derelict for nearly 20 years.

Following the success of converting the former nursery site at Viewpark Gardens into allotments, North Lanarkshire Council has applied to the Scottish Government to do likewise at the site off Kirklee Road.

The controversial travellers’ site was first opening by Motherwell District Council in 1982 with enough space for 20 pitches.

In 1996 newly-formed North Lanarkshire Council upgraded the facility to cater for another six pitches, but with only one family applying to take up residence it was closed soon after.

Now the council has made an application for £200,000 to the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund to create a community gardens and allotment initiative.

Mossend and Holytown councillor Jimmy Coyle said: “There has been some interest over the years in getting allotments in various parts of the area.

“This site has been lying empty for such a long time so it seems like it might be a decent way to finally make use of it.

“The new allotments in Viewpark have been a great success so I see no reason the same shouldn’t be true in Mossend and hopefully there are no issues with getting the money from the VDLF.”

Last week saw Viewpark Gardens Allotment Association taking over the running of their £250,000 site.

Funded by £200,000 from the VDLF and £50,000 from the council’s local development programme, the site holds 24 plots at present, but there is room for expansion should it prove necessary.

Association chairman Michael Cairney said: “The handover was a wonderful moment after all the planning and hard work.”

Thorniewood councillor Bob Burrows added: “I got involved in this project nearly two years ago when I was made aware special funding was available, and the support from the local community has been nothing short of fantastic.”

An official open day will take place in the next few weeks.

For more information visit www.viewparkgardensallotmentsassociation.co.uk or find Viewpark Gardens Allotments on Facebook.