Railfreight park legal move setback

Mossend Railhead plans have sparked fury.
Mossend Railhead plans have sparked fury.

The firm behind plans for Mossend International Railfreight Park is ‘dismayed’ after a legal move which means a likely delay to the project.

Peter D Stirling Limited says the development would bring 4,900 jobs and its planning application was approved on appeal by the Scottish Government last month after North Lanarkshire Council had rejected it.

However, the council has now decided to go to the Court of Session to seek a judicial review of Planning Minister Alex Neil’s ruling.

More than 200 local people attended a public meeting at St Gerard’s Primary School on Tuesday night last week. Residents expressed anger that Mr Neil had not listened to their concerns about the development.

Later one resident said: “We feel betrayed by the SNP promises to listen to voters. Who in their right mind would approve a 24/7 railfreight operation with noise, light pollution and air pollution besides their homes?

“This resembles the way Margaret Thatcher treated Scotland. Shameful.”

However, David Stirling, of the developers, insisted his company is taking residents’ concerns seriously.

He said: “While we’re disappointed if there are any delays to our ability to secure investment and jobs, we’re confident about the potential of MIRP to open up new opportunities for railfreight and support the transfer of freight off the roads and on to rail.

“This will keep North Lanarkshire at the centre of the freight and logistics industry, creating a state-of-the-art railfreight development with the potential to deliver 4,900 new jobs during the construction and operational phases.

“We take local concerns seriously and will continue to work locally to develop new community assets including a new locally-managed woodland with walkways and cycle routes.”

More on this story in the Times & Speaker, out today.