Antonine Centre owners claim planning officials ‘gagged’ them

Proposals to redevelop Westway Retail Park were unanimously approved by the planning committee at North Lanarkshire Council
Proposals to redevelop Westway Retail Park were unanimously approved by the planning committee at North Lanarkshire Council

The owners of the Antonine Centre in Cumbernauld are considering legal action after claiming they were ‘gagged’ by council officials at a recent meeting of the planning committee.

Bridges Fund Management lodged objections to plans for a prosed development at Westway Retail Park which has scope for a cinema, hotel, restaurants, retail, a car showroom and more, including associated parking and landscaping work.

Bridges had written to the council expressing concerns that officers were seeking to determine the application in direct contravention of their own protocols and national planning guidance.

Council protocols allow petitioners a hearing if there are six valid objections, however officials claimed four objections were not valid and Bridges were refused the opportunity to address members.

The committee subsequently went on to unanimously accept the officials’ recommendation.

Bridges Investment Director Tom Tyler said: “We are currently reviewing all of our legal options but, as an immediate priority, I shall be raising the issue of being deprived of a hearing and the issues surrounding this, in the first instance at the highest level in North Lanarkshire Council.”

A council spokesperson responded: “The objections from the owners of the Antonine Centre were received outwith the timescale for public comment so were not specifically covered within the report to committee.

“The council carried out a detailed assessment of the development and this is detailed in the committee report.

“The request for a Hearing was not granted because it did not meet the council’s Hearings Protocol criteria in terms of the number of valid objections received.

“A verbal report was provided to the committee to advise members of the late objections and the reasons for the refusal of the hearing, so members were fully informed before making a decision on the planning application.”