Court summons in North Motherwell land row

NEARLY 80 residents of a North Motherwell housing estate have launched proceedings against three organisations claiming the land their housing is built on is ‘not fit for human habitation’.

A total of 78 residents in 42 households who live on the site of the former Metropolitan Vickers factory off Watling Street are seeking remediation of the land from ‘defenders’ - City Link Development Company Ltd, Scott Wilson (Scotland) Ltd and North Lanarkshire Council.

Summons have also previously been issued against landlords Lanarkshire Housing Association and Clyde Valley Housing Association.

Ground testing on the site by North Lanarkshire Council found a small amount of trichloroethylene (TCE) in one area, while tests carried for Collins Solicitors, who represent all the residents, claim ‘toxic’ contamination is widespread in both the ground and air.

Des Collins, senior partner of Collins Solicitors, said: “All along we have warned that if the residents of this estate in Motherwell were not able to secure voluntary remediation of the site, legal action would follow.

“Each of those named in the joint summonses is responsible for having failed to ensure the redevelopment of the Watling Street site in the 1990s resulted in land suitable and safe for residential use.

“The housing associations have failed to provide housing fit for human habitation.”

North Lanarkshire Council is keen to show it has done everything to ensure the site is safe.

A spokeswoman said: “We note Mr Collins’s comments and regret that he is not persuaded of the council’s responsible behaviour in this matter which has, to date, included a considerable commitment of public resources.

“Despite this commitment, no public health issues for concern have been identified.

“We look forward to the opportunity of demonstrating the appropriateness of the council’s conduct and commitment to the court in due course.”

City Link Development Ltd is ‘baffled’ why it has been dragged into the affair.

A spokesman said: “We bought the land from Scottish Enterprise, who had previously paid a company to decontaminate the site.

“The site has also been assessed as suitable for housing and the tests carried out by North Lanarkshire Council support this.

“Naturally, we intend to defend this latest claim with the utmost vigour.”