Builders eyeing football stadium pledge cash for new facilities

Derelict scene at New Brandon Park.
Derelict scene at New Brandon Park.

BUILDERS have pledged a big cash sum to help pay for new sports facilities - if they get the go-ahead for homes at the former Bellshill Athletic football stadium.

New Brandon Park has fallen into a derelict state since the club were forced to leave four years ago.

Now Barratt West Scotland have applied to build 70 homes on the ground in Hattonrigg Road.

The proposal is with North Lanarkshire Council whose policies state sports pitches should not be built on unless new facilities are provided or upgraded elsewhere.

Athletic’s move to Hattonrigg Road 10 years ago was controversial as the package included 100 homes being built on open land and the loss of a public football pitch which had been used by amateur teams.

Athletic at that point promised to compensate by including pitches which could be used by the community, but these never materialised.

Now there is no pitch at all in Hattonrigg Road and the situation has angered residents who feel they have had a raw deal.

A report by Keppie Planning and Development in support of the new Barratt proposal acknowledges the ‘sensitive nature’ of the saga.

However, it states: “Whilst this might be a controversial issue locally, the football club has an alternative venue and continues to compete.

“There are large areas of community facilities in the vicinity and, in reality, there will be no loss of current active space as a result of the redevelopment of the derelict site.

“However, Barratt, liaising with the council and Sportscotland, will make a significant contribution towards leisure facilities in the area, to mitigate the loss of the sports facilities due to the relocation of Bellshill Athletic.”