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Financial Integrity, Football

East Dunbartonshire allows repeat Planning breaches on Lennoxtown

East Dunbartonshire Council, against the wishes of their residents, has allowed Celtic PLC to breach a major condition of their original detailed planning permission given in 2006 to build an access road from Glen Road. It has gave a two year reprieve in 2009 and extended that for another 2 years on 31 January 2012. What happened to the other 3 years where the council did nothing?

That second temporary variation is up today, 31 January 2014. Wonder what the council will do for the third time? Where did that rubber stamp go?

Looks like, if you are Celtic, then normal planning rules do not apply as far as East Dunbartonshire is concerned and the council is challenging Glasgow City Council for who can bend over backwards the most. However, in East Dunbartonshire, build a garden hut without permission they will come down hard on you and enforce the rules. Drop an access road and you are OK.

Have a look at the litany of planning assumptions made in the rushed Lennoxtown development on 18 April 2006 below. East Dunbartonshire bent to Celtic’s every wish to rush the planning approval. That is what caused the stuff up on the transport problems by the access road. Not Mactaggart & Mickel’s development which is the excuse Celtic used to get the Temporary Variations on the planning breaches.

Also, one of the original approvers of the Lennoxtown development, Councillor Dempsey in the 31 January 2012 meeting, declared a non pecuniary interest in the both the Lennoxtown and Mactaggart & Mickel applications and duly left the Council Chambers. Hmmm

Residents hit out at Celtic over use of private road to access training ground

On 14 June 2009, The Daily Record reported:

CELTIC face a legal battle after neighbours claimed a road is being wrecked by buses and players’ cars on their way to training.

Residents say garden fences have also been damaged by the stream of vehicles.

Celtic agreed to build their own route to the Lennoxtown complex but 19 months after it opened they are still using the single-track road.

Locals are in talks with lawyers about suing the club and East Dunbartonshire Council.

They claim the council’s attempt to fix the road left gardens flooded.

Electronic engineer Donald McLean, 56, of Station Road, Lennoxtown, said: “Vehicles going to and from the site have damaged my fencing and the grass verge. We have to clean the road regularly.

“They have put down Tarmac to repair this private road but it has raised the level. Now the water runs straight down and is damaging plants in my garden.

“Celtic won’t even reply to letters from my solicitor.

“The club are leaving us no option but to take them to court to try to get them to honour their original plans.

On a training night, we can get 50 vehicles coming down this narrow road at 9pm. Some of them are 55-seater buses.

Celtic were only given planning permission on the understanding they resurface another route leading from the A891 to the £8million centre north of Glasgow.

Yesterday East Dunbartonshire admitted the club were in breach of planning permission.

Celtic were awarded a completion certificate in time for the opening ceremony in October 2007, attended by club chief executive Peter Lawwell and then manager Gordon Strachan.

They have yet to start work on the new road. Residents have hired lawyers PRG for the case.

Retired garage boss James Sim, 65, said: “It is just a matter of time before there is a serious accident on the road.

It is unbelievable that Celtic can build an £8million facility and they can’t find a few extra pounds to resurface a road.

The council said the new road had been delayed because part of it was owned by developers Mactaggart & Mickel.

A spokesman said: “At present Celtic are physically unable to comply with the requirement to access their site from the A891.

“This road crossed land that Greater Glasgow Health Board sold to Mactaggart & Mickel. Part of the planning conditions for Mactaggart & Mickel were that they put in place adequate flood prevention.

“With the credit crunch, McTaggart & Mickel have slowed development and the road has not been completed.

“In the meantime, Celtic are using a right of access they have along the private road, but its continued use is in contravention of their planning requirements.

“East Dunbartonshire Council have met with Celtic to ask them to regularise matters.

“We are hopeful of finding a way forward that suits everyone.” A Celtic spokesman said: “The issues are due to a delay in the completion of the main access roads on the lower site.

“This is not within Celtic’s control but we hope this work will be carried out soon.

“We have a very positive relationship with the local community in Lennoxtown, with the facility being used regularly for the benefit of local schools and youth groups through Lennoxtown Initiative.

“We are happy to assist in addressing any concerns”.

A Mactaggart & Mickel spokeswoman said: “The access road is not our responsibility.”

Question: How did Celtic get the completion certificate in 2007 from East Dunbartonshire planning if it was in breach of a planning condition?

The ‘Greenbelt Leisure/Recreational’ idea of a low impact development doesn’t appear to have worked for residents.

Temporary Variation No.1 2009

Lennoxtown Training Centre opened on 7 October 2007 and a main condition, no. 12, of the planning approval said that Celtic had to provide an access road off the A891, the Glen Road. It should have been there from the opening in 2007.  Unbelievably, residents had to wait for two years for the council to act on heavy traffic of cars and buses entering the Lennoxtown ‘Greenbelt Leisure/Recreational’ site.

So what was East Dunbartonshire’s solution? Well on 14 October 2009 , two years after the facility opened, they granted Celtic a Temporary Variation of Condition 12 for two years. From the 27 October 2009 report there is a Delegated Decisions report which has hidden away, the approval of application TP/ED/09/0716:

Tem No.1, no.3

Temporary Variation No.2 2012

From the 31 January 2012 report an application TP/ED/11/0901 was made by Celtic for the Renewal of Temporary Consent:

This application seeks a further temporary variation of condition 12 of planning permission TP/ED/05/1179 to allow access to the training facility to be taken from Station Road as oppose to Glen Road. As stated in the site history above there was a similar application received in 2009 for the variation of the same condition. The condition attached to the original consent was worded as below;

`For the avoidance of doubt, access to and from the site shall, at all times, be taken from the A891 Glen Road (to the north of the site at the junction marked X (Glen Road) on the approved location plan) unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Planning Authority’.

The supporting statement also identifies that the, `existing road would also be utilised by all vehicles i.e. club staff, coaches, community access, deliveries to maintain the facility function but would exclude all construction traffic. Any construction traffic to and from the Training Facility during this period would be obtained from Glen Road (A891) using the unfinished road through the adjacent development.’ The application seeks temporary consent to allow access to the facility to be taken from Station Road for a further two year period. Given the constraints relating to access from Glen Road, unless the facility was to close down, taking access from Station Road is the only option available to Celtic FC which would enable the facility to remain open. The Planning Authority have in the past received complaints from residents of Netherton Oval and Station Road about vehicles associated with Celtic FC using Station Road to access the facility. While the applicants have tried to negotiate with the adjacent landowner to complete the small section of linking road this has been unsuccessful. Complaints have been received from local residents in the past about vehicle movements, speeding cars and vehicles using Netherton Oval, however, many of these issues are outwith the control of the Planning Authority.

What does the Detailed Full Planning approval for Lennoxtown say?

In the 18 April 2006 report doc, on Application TP/ED/05/1179 it can be seen that planning was rushed. Excerpts relating to transport :

A significant proportion of this material was submitted at the end of 2005 in order that an outline application could be progressed and at this time it was agreed to deal with the remaining items by condition and that they should be submitted prior to consideration of the current detailed application.
In February 2006, critical components of the information were still outstanding and the applicant was asked to advise on the programme for submission of:-
i full transport assessment

In subsequent discussions with the Agents, the desire for an early determination despite the large number of outstanding items was stressed and agreement was reached that if all outstanding material could be submitted by 31st March 2006, every effort would be made to pass the materials speedily to consultees, obtain responses and deal with outstanding issues in time for an early June Planning Board.

In practice, although a significant portion of outstanding material was delivered by 31st March, very
important aspects of the information (transport assessment, drainage impact assessment, SUDS scheme, tree survey and Bat Report) were not delivered until the first week in April and the landscaping proposals were delivered on 10th April.

At a meeting with the Head of Planning, Development and Property Assets on 6th April 2006 representatives of the applicants however made it clear that a much earlier determination date was now sought in order to achieve an early site start.

Transport Assessment – A 22 page report prepared by JMP Consulting giving an indication of the existing situation, development proposals and the travel characteristics of the development together with a traffic management plan taking into account the bridge over the Glazert Water and current development proposals on adjoining sites. The report also includes a 2 page travel plan which involves the setting of a database for travel patterns and monitoring and review arrangements.

Strategic Policy 3 refers to the strategic management of travel demands. A transport assessment has been submitted indicating that there will be no adverse impacts upon the local road network from this development and that sustainable means of transport will be encouraged through a Travel Plan.

It is proposed to access this side from the North (A891 Glen Road) through the adjacent site which is proposed for housing by Mactaggart & Mickel. It remains however unclear weather (sic) the application intends that the Council should adopt the access road and it is therefore appropriate to include a condition that should the access road be proposed for adoption by the council, its entire length will need to be constructed to a standard acceptable to the Roads Service. A Transport Assessment has been submitted but the Roads Service has been unable to consider this in the limited time available. It is not considered however that (especially in comparison with the scale of housing development proposed on the adjoining site) this development will generate significant additional transport issues. A condition will be attached requiring the developer to demonstrate that the recommendations contained in the TA have been implemented prior to the development coming into use.

Condition 12: For the avoidance of doubt, access to and from the site shall, at all times, be taken from the A891 Glen Road (to the north of the site at the junction marked X on the approved location plan) unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Planning Authority.

The whole debacle is laid out above of planning being rushed by Celtic and East Dunbartonshire complying and then assumptions being made that no transport problems could be envisaged.

Claims that Mactaggart & Mickel is causing the delays are rejected

Both in 2009 and in 2012, Celtic claim they cannot do anything because it’s Mactaggart & Mickel‘s fault. The Mactaggart & Mickel built the roundabout, bridge and access road to the north of their development. These are privately own – they don’t belong to the council.

Mactaggart & Mickel are in Phase 1A with 1B, 2, 3 and 4 yet to come with the said road improvements delaying Celtic are in Phase 4. This is years away. As Mactaggart & Mickel said above in 2009 in the Daily Record ‘The access road is not our responsibility.’

Question: Why did East Dunbartonshire allow Celtic’s development to be approved with, what they claim,  a dependency on another independent development when they had different developers & timelines?

Celtic’s approval was rushed through with no thought of the impact on local residents and piggybacked on Mactaggart & Mickel’s.

So what do the residents nearby both developments think? In the 31 January 2012 doc is Application TP/ED/11/0367 Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions for Mactaggart & Mickel’s development where:

One letter of representation was received from Mr Dow on behalf of the Netherton Residents Association.

9. The Mactaggart and Mickel and Celtic developments have brought no financial improvements to Lennoxtown.

Councillor Dempsey’s Declaration

From the minutes of 31 January 2012 meeting as reported in the 13 March 2012 report:


Councillor Dempsey declared a non pecuniary interest in the following two items of business
and duly left the Council Chambers.

b) Renewal of Temporary Consent Application TP/ED/11/0901 – Temporary
variation of Condition 12 of the approval Celtic Training Facility (TP/ED/05/1179)
to allow access to the site to be taken from Station Road for a period of two years
at Celtic Training Facility, Celtic Way, Lennoxtown

Following consideration, the Board granted the application, subject to the conditions
contained within the Report.

c) Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions Application TP/ED/11/0367 –
Erection of 76 dwelling houses, associated landscaping and enabling works on
former hospital site in accordance with approved masterplan TP/ED/03/1188 at
Lennox Castle, Lennox Castle Hospital, Lennoxtown

Councillor Low referred to Page 49, Condition 21, Line 1 and Line 4, and advised that
“Rev E” should read “Rev F”.

Following further consideration, the Board granted the application, subject to the
conditions contained within the Report.

Questions: When did Cllr Dempsey’s interest start in both development applications? What is the nature of the Non-Pecuniary interest?

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2 thoughts on “East Dunbartonshire allows repeat Planning breaches on Lennoxtown

  1. It may be prudent for the owners of properties who stay close to the road that is used to access Lennoxtown, to fire off a letter, putting East Dunbartonshire Council on notice,

    that they will hold East Dunbartonshire Council Legally liable in nuisance as there may be evidence of subsidence to the properties and damage to trees and foliage occurring due to the amount of traffic that is generated on a day to day basis. Once the letter has been received, the council will be held legally liable as they have been warned of the potential issues but failed to act.

    This is even more relevant given the stay of execution for the planning permission granted to CFC by East Dunbartonshire.

    Basically the property owners should write an action to prevent letter. To cover all bases, a copy of the letter should be addressed to CFC as Co defendants.

    Posted by Cathars | February 2, 2014, 8:46 pm
  2. Interesting point on Councillor Dempsey, I would assume that is Councillor Dempsey who was involved with the Lennoxtown Initiative, mentioned in glowing terms by the good doctor Brian Quinn on the opening of Lennoxtown:

    “Brian praised the help Celtic had received from both East Dunbartonshire Council and the Lennoxtown Initiative and stressed the importance of the club enjoying good relationships and strong links with the local community.
    Celtic’s location in Lennoxtown is backed up by an eight-year service level agreement between Celtic and the Lennoxtown Initiative, aimed at benefiting the community.”

    So who are the Lennoxtown Initiative, you won’t find them on the internet anymore, however their archived site stated:

    “This Community led plan aims to regenerate the village, countering the long-term decline of the local economy and in particular the effects of the closure of Lennox Castle Hospital, which provided the main source of employment in the village.”

    A great concept indeed, but why on earth are they no longer operating? Well it appears that from 2008 onwards, East Dunbartonshire Council and the NHSGC decided that they no longer needed to support this organisation? I wonder why not, what had changed? The Lennoxtown Initiative tell it as:

    “The Board was made aware of the financial constraints that both East Dunbartonshire Council and the NHSGCC are facing from next year’s budgets which limit their ability to continue offering support.

    The Board agreed that adhoc meetings be resurrected consisting of Jim Gilmour, John Dempsey and Brian McAleenan, bringing in relevant external professionals as necessary. “


    So, it seems that the driving force behind the Lennoxtown Initiative were those three gents. It’d be interesting to request if any of them have ever declared any hospitality from any interested parties. Perhaps one or several of them were invited to a UEFA cup final as an example?

    One last area that interests me, on how many occasions and in what period did Celtic make charitable donations to the Lennoxtown Initiative? Were there any conditions attached to the said donation(s)? These questions should be answered to assure us, the taxpayer, that there has been no impropriety around the whole process. Perhaps someone could ask the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator to look into this. If anyone is interested, the Lennoxtown Initiative SCR number is SC031958.


    Posted by Big Joe Canoe | February 3, 2014, 3:54 pm

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