WALKERS who enjoy the peaceful woodland surroundings of Viewpark Glen have watched in horror in recent weeks as bulldozers clear ground for industrial development.
With the offices of Strathclyde Business Park and factories of Righead Industrial Estate only a short distance away, the glen is a precious taste of the countryside for people in Viewpark.
But now campaigners say a large area of the glen is being lost piece by piece - and they have rejected assurances from North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe that there is ‘no threat’ to the glen and that he will oppose any plan which threatens the ‘valuable site’.
Fusion Assets, a regeneration company run by the council and private sector partners, was last year given planning permission for three new industrial buildings in the business park.
The 3.6-acre site is at the western end of the business park, but it is only the first of three phases of development. Another five acres adjacent to the cleared site have been earmarked and Viewpark Conservation Group says Fusion’s own plans show clearly that further swathes of woodland will have to be removed.
The clearance work currently taking place is just a few yards from one of the main paths through the glen and the conservation group says if the further phases are approved trees will be felled almost as far as the landmark Roman Bridge in the heart of the glen.
The group’s Grace McNeill said: “How can Councillor McCabe promise to protect Viewpark Glen when it’s so clear that industrial units are to be built right in the middle of it?”
Councillor McCabe, who grew up in Viewpark and still lives close to the glen, told the Times & Speaker last month: “There is no threat to Viewpark Glen and I will oppose any proposal which threatens that valuable site.”
However, after visiting the glen at the weekend he admitted: “I have reservations about further development in that particular area.
“We can have a look to see what alternatives there are. At this stage there are no guarantees that phases two and three of the Fusion development will go ahead. No planning application has yet been submitted.”
Meanwhile, Viewpark Conservation Group is in the process of setting up a website that will provide more details about its activities.
See the Times & Speaker for a full feature on Viewpark Glen. The papers are now on sale.