Flats councillor slammed over blocked office

Moore Macdonald Solicitors
Moore Macdonald Solicitors

CHURCH planning row councillor Michael Ross is at the centre of another application dispute.

The senior Labour member came under fire last week after a proposal by Holy Trinity Church to demolish their old hall in Crawford Street, Motherwell, and replace it with flats to provide much-needed income was rejected.

Councillor Michael Ross

Councillor Michael Ross

North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee voted against it despite their own officials recommending approval.

Councillor Ross’s father lives close to the site in Hamilton Road and had objected to the application.

Councillor Ross, who is not on the committee, admitted discussing the issue with fellow Motherwell councillor Paul Kelly who led the move to reject it.

The pair gave different versions about who had raised the matter first, but both denied that Councillor Ross had tried to influence the vote.

However, Rev Alan Wylie, of Holy Trinity, described their conduct as ‘suspicious and disturbing’.

Now, the planning committee’s decision has been branded ‘disgusting’ by Motherwell solicitor James Moore who revealed he clashed with Councillor Ross over an application to open an office in Hamilton Road - next door to the home of Councillor Ross’s dad - six years ago.

Mr Moore’s planning application to convert a house to an office was turned down. Objectors included Mr Ross and his dad.

Mr Moore said: “Due to the predominance of commercial premises in the area, I was advised that council officials should not have a problem with an application for a change of use.”

However, when the issue went before the planning committee a report said access for cars to the proposed office was sub-standard and the impact on the ‘character and amenity’ of the neighbourhood would have been ‘unacceptable’.

Full story in this week’s Motherwell Times, out now.