Out of step on dance hall plan

The empty building which is to be used for dance classes.
The empty building which is to be used for dance classes.

Councillors are under fire for rejecting advice from their planning officials and letting a building in a housing estate be used for dance classes.

Residents are worried the enterprise will bring more traffic to Motherwell’s Greenacres.

An application to convert the empty former shop and cafe in Ross Crescent was approved by North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee after councillors visited the site.

The building has been lying empty and the man behind the plan says the area would benefit from it being brought back into use. As well as dance classes it could be used for councillors’ surgeries, neighbourhood watch meetings and other community activities.

However, Ladywell Community Council and nine residents lodged objections.

One resident said: “It would increase dramatically the traffic going to and from the housing estate where lots of young children play in the streets.”

Another said a suggestion the premises could be used by third parties has caused ‘considerable concern’.

A report to the committee stated: “The surrounding area is predominantly residential and, while this property is an established commercial unit, the previous uses provided a local service to residents. The use proposed is likely to attract a higher volume of customers from the wider area, increasing the number of vehicles visiting.

“It would be incompatible with the surrounding residential area.”

Community council secretary Stewart Gray said his group is ‘very angry’ at the decision. He queried why roads officials hadn’t even attended the site visit yet had offered no objection.

Mr Gray added: “Councillor Jimmy Coyle, the committee convener, accused the Scottish Government last week of riding roughshod over local democracy by approving a freightpark plan in Mossend. How is this any different?”

A council spokesman said roads officials made ‘a comprehensive review of the location and the implications for traffic’ but would not usually attend a site visit.