Homes for former hospital site

Bellway Homes and NHS Lanarkshire can now do a deal for the Strathclyde Hospital site.
Bellway Homes and NHS Lanarkshire can now do a deal for the Strathclyde Hospital site.

Bellway Homes has been granted planning permission to build 92 houses on the former Strathclyde Hospital site in Motherwell.

At a hearing the planning and transportation committee heard from local residents who objected to the plan as well as representatives of Bellway.

Things got off to a rocky start as committee convener Jimmy Coyle took exception to Bellway’s “advertising” and then threatened to clear the public gallery following an outburst of “liar, liar” directed at the firm’s Graham Kerr.

The residents were represented by Robert Sanders and Alan Wilson who argued the application was against the local plan which earmarked the site for “community” use and were concerned about the loss of dozens of mature trees, a reduction in privacy, the effect on wildlife and an increase in air pollution and traffic.

Motherwell West councillors Michael Ross and Paul Kelly both addressed the committee stating the application was inappropriate in terms of scale and feared a road through the site and a gate onto Duchess of Hamilton Park would both become issues in the future.

Mr Kerr said: “We have a long history of successfully developing sites in North Lanarkshire and believe we have listened to the concerns raised by the residents and the councillors.”

Councillor Jim Logue proposed a motion to grant planning permission, which was seconded by Councillor Stephanie Griffin.

Councillor Logue said: “There is no difference between this application and similar ones we have seen for other brownfield sites including surplus school buildings.”

Councillor John Taggart put in an amendment to reject permission, however only found support from Councillor Peter Sullivan as the motion was passed 8-2.

Mr Sanders said: “We are very disappointed the committee agreed to give Bellway planning permission.

“We thought perhaps a compromise could be reached, that would save more trees and see less homes squeezed onto the site, but it wasn’t to be.

“With having the support of Councillors Kelly and Ross we hoped this might be enough to persuade their colleagues to back us.

“Unfortunately that turned out not to be the case, but our campaign doesn’t end here and we will see what options we now have.”