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Cumbernauld Shopping Complex Under Threat
Cumbernauld shopping complex under threat as rivals claim it derails vision
It has the dubious distinction of being twice named Scotland's most dismal town, compared with the Afghan capital Kabul.
But the new owners of Cumbernauld's infamous town centre have claimed their plans for a civic revival are under threat because of a rival retail development.
In the coming weeks North Lanarkshire Council is expected to give the go ahead for a £25million shopping complex in Cumbernauld's Westfield area, several miles and across the M80 from the 1960s 'New Town' centre.
Supermarket chain Aldi, discount retailer Home Bargains and a Marks and Spencer Simply Food outlet will be anchor tenants at the 12 acre brownfield site which has lain empty for years. It will also include a pub, a drive-thru restaurant or coffee shop, a petrol station and 600 parking spaces.
But the firm which purchased the Brutalist town centre in 2013 and the adjoining shopping centre this year have said the proposed development would "derail" its own vision for Cumbernauld, which includes the creation of a cinema, retail and restaurant units and would tie in with the new 32,000 sq ft leisure complex.
Despite the local authority's legal requirement to consider the Westfield proposals, town centre owners Belgate Estates said it was "of grave concern that North Lanarkshire Council is entertaining the planning application" for the rival development.
Stuart Wilson, of Belgate Estates, said: "If this is approved it will be a devastating blow for a town centre already under significant pressure, at a time when a great deal of time and money is being invested in creating a shopping and leisure experience worthy of a town the size of Cumbernauld."
During the previous decade Cumbernauld twice won the 'Plook on a Plinth' award for terrible architecture, as well as the public vote in the Channel 4 series Demolition, which advocated flattening the entire town centre, describing it as the worst building in Britain.
But Belgate said its rival would not be big enough to attract shoppers from beyond Cumbernauld, adding that the jobs and spend would be drawn away from businesses in the centre.
Mr Wilson added: "The prospect of Westfield happening is a disaster for the town centre as a whole and will make it extremely difficult to take our exciting development plans forward and we urge the planning committee to reject this application."
Glenn MacNay, owner of Cafe Alba in the town's shopping centre, said: “The only thing the council should be concerned with is improving what we already have.”
Bryan Wilson, of Westfield developers L&S Broadwood, said: “We see our development as a neighbourhood centre which will act as a focus for the local community on the Broadwood side of the M80, and give them major high street retailers on their doorstep.
“We wish the town centre well with their plans for a cinema and leisure facilities, but we are not proposing that sort of development and we are a good two and a half miles from the town centre.
“We are however providing an opportunity for Cumbernauld to attract retailers, like M&S Simply Food, Aldi and Home Bargains, who are keen to take advantage of the trading environment we will provide in Westfield”.