Planning boss to step down after 25 years

A ribbon was cut to mark the official opening of the Dementia Garden in Motherwell from left: Mark Smillie, Director of the Environmental Key Fund; Matt Moorcroft from Motherwell who has contributed to the creation of the garden; Graeme Miller from Miller Cycles, Wishaw who organised a team of 23 volunteers who raised around �4,000 by cycling from Glasgow to Edinburgh; Councillor James Coyle, Convener of Planning and Transportation; Councillor Thomas Lunny; and Charge Nurse Hazel Boyle.
A ribbon was cut to mark the official opening of the Dementia Garden in Motherwell from left: Mark Smillie, Director of the Environmental Key Fund; Matt Moorcroft from Motherwell who has contributed to the creation of the garden; Graeme Miller from Miller Cycles, Wishaw who organised a team of 23 volunteers who raised around �4,000 by cycling from Glasgow to Edinburgh; Councillor James Coyle, Convener of Planning and Transportation; Councillor Thomas Lunny; and Charge Nurse Hazel Boyle.

A Holytown councillor is retiring from politics after 25 years of decision-making on the area’s planning issues.

Jimmy Coyle says his biggest regret is failing to secure major development for Motherwell’s Ravenscraig site, but he is immensely proud of the jobs that have been brought to nearby Eurocentral.

Councillor Coyle (72) was first elected a councillor in 1988 and in 1992 became convener of Motherwell District Council’s planning committee, a post he still holds with North Lanarkshire Council.

However, he did not put his name forward as a Labour candidate for the Mossend and Holytown ward at next year’s council elections.

Councillor Coyle said: “Last year my health was not great and although it is now a lot better I feel it’s time to hand over to someone younger. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of the area.”

He took up his planning position at the time Ravenscraig steelworks closed.

He said: “I would have loved to see that site thriving, but with litigation and the bottom falling out of the housing and retail markets it wasn’t to be.

“However, there are lots of homes being built there and people wil need facilities, so I’m sure things will pick up.

“On the other hand what’s happened at Eurocentral has been amazing. Credit must go to the council planning department because we took the decison to fasttrack planning applications by companies wanting to move there so they wouldn’t have to hang around waiting for a decision, and it has paid off.

“We also have, in Dakota, one of the best hotels in Scotland on that site.”

Councillor Frank McNally and Jim Reddin are Labour’s candidates for Mossend and Holytown. In Bellshill it’s Councillor Harry Curran and Angela Campbell while Councillor Bob Burrows and Hugh Gaffney fly the flag in Thorniewood.

Other candidates: Motherwell South-East & Ravenscraig, Kenneth Duffy and Councillor Kaye Harmon; Motherwell West, Councillors Paul Kelly and Michael Ross; Motherwell North, Councillor Pat O’Rourke and Olivia Carson