Search on Google for the planning term ‘Greenbelt Compatible‘ and only once does it appear – for the sale of Lennoxtown to Celtic FC. Planning seems to be an exercise in justifying for or against any development.
Have a look at the following Lennoxtown diagram from the Green Networks Planning Guidance Note from East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC):
The upper left hand corner of the map, in Brown, is the Lennox Castle Hospital Lower Site of Mactaggart & Mickel’s residential development. For some reason the ‘Greenbelt Compatible’ Upper Site of Celtic, which sits further left is not on the existing Green Network – are they ashamed of the situation and is this deliberate?
In Grey below the M&M development are the Netherton Oval cottages which were for staff from the hospital which for some reason were retained even though it’s right in the middle of greenbelt. Given the reversion of the Brownfield Upper Site to ‘Greenfield Compatible‘ surely the old cottages should have been demolished?
Just to the right of the Mactaggart & Mickel development is another very large wedge of Greenbelt at Balglass Farm marked appropriately in Green.
So going from left to right from the Celtic training centre, Lennoxtown we have:
Lennoxtown which is ‘Greenbelt Compatible’
Mactaggart & Mickel which is Residential
Balglass Farm which is Greenbelt
So which one is the definitive Greenbelt boundary? Are EDC defending it at the Celtic training centre or have they retreated to Balglass Farm?
EDC Planning keep generating documents claiming they are defending the greenbelt and the Lennoxtown village boundaries. Well it doesn’t look like it. Either Mactaggart & Mickel should not have happened or the whole hospital site should have been residential. The whole planning exercise smacks of horse trading. No other residential development has taken place beneath the Galzert Water, the river running north of the hospital site and roughly following the Red Core Path on the map above.
If anything the Upper Site should have been the residential site. The Lower Site is called that because it’s lower in elevation and Mactaggart & Mickel had to build up the embankment to the north on the Galzert Water for flood prevention for EDC Planning because of flooding risk.
Traffic to Celtic Training Centre is not Greenbelt Compatible
Just this month, March 2014, the Daily Record reported that once again Lennoxtown residents were complaining about the traffic heading back and forth to Celtic’s training centre:
Residents have yet again complained that there are up to 400 car journeys per day going down a single track road which has wrecked the road. ‘Another resident Brian Pickett, 46, said: “On training nights, there can be up to 50 vehicles coming down this narrow road at 9pm, including 55-seater buses.‘
This seems more like the shift pattern of a small factory than ‘Greenbelt Compatible’ traffic usage.
EDC are blaming Mactaggart & Mickel but it’s the council’s own Planning dept to blame. Mactaggart & Mickel’s development has different phases and the council allowed Celtic to piggyback their development on M&M’s road developments in Phase 4. After 6 years, Mactaggart & Mickel have only just completed Phase 1A and they have no obligation to Celtic. How can one planning approval be contingent on another application – when the site is claimed to be split? This demonstrates the rushed planning by EDC and the horsetrading that happened for the Lennox Castle Hospital land.
Now Celtic want to renege on the access road from the A891 which was a major condition in their original planning approval by making the single track road access permanent and offering to surface the road.
The planning for Celtic’s site isn’t ‘Greenbelt Compatible’ it’s ‘Bullshit Compatible’. If EDC can invent a new categorisation of planning so can anyone.
As we have seen recently with the story that Brian Dempsey, Ex-Celtic Director while exiting bankruptcy looks at the possibility of a financial windfall from greenbelt land in Moodiesburn which suddenly looking like it could turn into commercial land. Control the local councillors and you can ride over the top of any planning dept.