Newarthill eco homes plan is not Good enough

Officials  rejected idea of homes for green enthusiasts such as TV's Tom and Barbara Good.
Officials rejected idea of homes for green enthusiasts such as TV's Tom and Barbara Good.

A bid to bring a slice of The Good Life to Newarthill has failed after planners said new homes would break rules protecting the countryside.

Developers wanted to build smallholdings for people keen to rear chickens and other livestock, and grow their own fruit and vegetables - just like Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall in the classic BBC television comedy series.

They said it was exactly the sort of thing the Government wants as it bids to get Scots living healthy lives and using energy more efficiently.

However, the proposals by Alasdair Brewster and Lyn Lewis for seven smallholdings on 32 acres of land in Mosshall Street, Newarthill, were rejected by North Lanarkshire Council, and now an appeal to the Scottish Government has been turned down too.

Planning and urban design firm Sue Hudson said the smallholdings would be on two sites close together. There would also be allotments for community use.

It stated: “Both sites are unattractive legacies of the area’s mining past, but would be transformed into green, landscaped areas full of new habitats and wildlife.

“This proposed development is not about new houses or a business. It is about a more self-sustainable life.

“Each smallholding would be large enough to allow the owners to be self-sufficient in fresh fruit and vegetables, and to keep bees, chickens, goats and other animals. Surplus produce could be sold locally.

“Smallholding opportunities are few and far between, but the growing numbers of people attracted to this type of lifestyle are usually passionate about reducing their carbon footprint by recycling building materials and minimising energy consumption.

“This has the potential to become an attraction for people wishing to learn about the practical implications of sustainable living and associated technologies. Development of such a focus could raise the profile of Newarthill and North Lanarkshire.”

However, Scottish Government Reporter John Martin said there was no evidence the homes were needed for agriculture so he couldn’t allow a greenbelt development.