Fury over Shieldmuir ‘wasteland’ limbo

Shieldmuir residents have waited seven years for this eyesore wasteland to be turned into a landscaped car park.
Shieldmuir residents have waited seven years for this eyesore wasteland to be turned into a landscaped car park.

Furious Shieldmuir residents expected a large, landscaped car park to be created beside their showpiece estate - seven years ago.

It never happened, and two years since the latest plan was produced all they still have is a large tract of waste ground, choked with weeds and plagued by vandals.

The homes in and around Excelsior Street commanded prices ranging from £170,000 to £250,000,

But builder Taylor Wimpey, North Lanarkshire Council and transport quango SPT are still embroiled in a bureaucratic tangle over how to get the car park project moving.

Taylor Wimpey retrospectively applied to downsize the 103-space feature originally planned, it says on the recommendation of SPT and the council, but even that scheme is stymied.

Excelsior Street resident Angela McCarthy said: “We’re at our wits’ end, because the years are rolling by and nothing is getting any better.

“The estate was supposed to have a large car park where people could leave their cars and use the train, but instead they’re having to leave their cars parked in the main street.”

She added: “We can only hope that by making people aware of how the planning process has gone so horribly wrong we can spare others in the same position some misery - and maybe even get something done at last.”

Excelsior Residents Group chairman Tom Bow said: “The builders left here two years ago, and the place still looks like a wasteland.

“It has been a complete shambles, and all we want to know is how many years to we have to wait before it is finally sorted.

“There are 497 homes in the estate, each paying around £2,000 in council tax - so that’s a lot of money the council are getting, and for doing what?”

Stephen Andrew, design and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey, West Scotland, said the council would have to reach agreement with Network Rail before it could build the car park.

The firm, explaining its position in detail, has stressed that from its standpoint the maintenance issues are the responsibility of the council and SPT, because the CCTV and lighting elements of the scheme post-date the original plan.

But it added it is keen to see the problem resolved and is “back in discussions with North Lanarkshire Council in a bid to find a solution to this complex problem.”

The council’s business manager (development management), Les Stevenson, said the council hadn’t yet resolved the reduced-size plan (produced two years ago) as a number of issues have to be resolved, including the future maintenance and the installation of CCTV and lighting at the site.

The authority has declined to comment further on the issue, pending “ongoing discussions”.