Stadium site bid is kicked into touch

The old Bellshill Athletic pitch at Hattonrigg Road is on sale for �2.5 million
The old Bellshill Athletic pitch at Hattonrigg Road is on sale for �2.5 million

North Lanarkshire Council has refused to bring forward a compulsory purchase order to seize back New Brandon Park in Bellshill.

Back in 2002 the council agreed to sell ground including the Hattonrigg public football park, to Bellshill Athletic for £800,000 to build a new stadium.

However, promised community facilities never materialised and the stadium itself was closed after only six years, then demolished.

The area is now lying derelict and is up for sale with a price tag of £2.5 million, prompting fed-up Mossend and Holytown councillor David Baird to demand the council takes action.

Councillor Baird submitted a motion to the full council, requesting cash from the Scottish Government’s vacant and derelict land fund to buy the land using a compulsory purchase order.

He said: “This land could be used as an amenity for the people of the North Bellshill area instead of being an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“It seems it is very hard to locate the paperwork from the original sale so I am asking the council to use its powers to bring it back into public ownership and use a compulsory purchase order with cash from the vacant and derelict land fund.”

Bellshill councillor Harry Curran said he too wants action, but a compulsory purchase order is not the right route to go down.

He said: “Councillor Baird is right about something needing to be done. This issue comes up at every local area partnership meeting. It’s my ward and I’m more than keen for this matter to be resolved tomorrow, but it isn’t as easy as that.

“Unfortunately we cannot go for a compulsory purchase order. We’ve tried before and it is not appropriate where the owner is willing to sell the land as compulsory purchase orders can be used only where it is impossible or impractical to buy the land by agreement.”

An amendment by Councillor Curran defeated Councillor Baird’s motion by 34 votes to 18.