Hattonrigg house plan scrapped

DERELICT SITE: the former New Brandon Park stadium
DERELICT SITE: the former New Brandon Park stadium

House builders Barratt have pulled the plug on plans to build a development on the site of the former Bellshill Athletic football ground.

Earlier this year the firm lodged an application with North Lanarkshire Council for planning permission for up to 80 homes on the land in Hattonrigg which has been the subject of a long-running saga.

But they confirmed this week that they would not be going ahead with the development and had withdrawn their application - meaning that any rejuvenation of the eyesore site was now effectively back to square one.

The firm blamed ‘unforeseen issues’ for their decision to pull out.

But their withdrawal prompted MSP and former Bellshill councillor Richard Lyle to call on the council to impose a Compulsory Purchase Order on the land.

He said: “It’s time the council grasped the bull by the horns and got this site back into community use.”

The site has become an eyesore since former Bellshill Athletic boss Stephen McGhee left the club and the stadium was subsequently demolished.

Barratt’s application for a 80-house development had looked set to bring the saga to an end - until they pulled the plug this week.

A company spokesperson said: “Barratt West Scotland has been progressing a planning application for the Hattonrigg area of Bellshill for the last 12 months and has worked closely with North Lanarkshire Council throughout the process.

“Unfortunately due to unforeseen issues, outwith the control of both parties, Barratt West Scotland has had to withdraw their application.”

Mr Lyle, SNP list MSP for Central Scotland and a former Bellshill councillor and Local Area Partnership convener, said: “The council should now take the bull by the horns and implement a compulsory purchase order to buy this site.

“There is a community-led project which has been looking at setting up a sports hub at Bellshill Academy and moving this to the Hattonrigg site would make sense.”

He added: “If the council were to buy and then lease the land I would certainly do all I could to help them explore funding avenues.

However a council spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any future proposals for the site at this stage.

“North Lanarkshire Council has no plans to issue a compulsory purchase order.”