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SLC Approve Plans
Plans for almost 300 homes on the site of Blantyre’s former Craighead Retreat, which has lain vacant for more than a decade, were given the green light.
Councillors granted developer Craighead Properties approval to build a maximum of 299 homes on the site on the banks of the Clyde opposite Bothwell and bounded by the East Kilbride Expressway.
A number of proposals had been submitted for the site since the retreat run by the Catholic Church was closed in 2000, and its original Victorian building Craighead House demolished.
However, all of them fell through – including one for a £17m Scottish Football Association training academy; it had been approved by councillors in 2007, but in 2011 the SFA said the scheme was no longer viable as a result of recession.
Craighead Properties aim to build family villas, split-level townhouses and detached and semi-detached houses on the site. The plans are subject to a ‘section 75’ obligation which requires the developer to provide “appropriate financial contributions at appropriate times” towards the provision of affordable housing, educational facilities, the extension of the Clyde Walkway and an approved woodland management scheme.
South Lanarkshire planning chief Colin McDowall in a document told councillors that Craighead Properties’ proposal “challenged the terms” of Local Plan 2009 policy which required the provision of other facilities like sports, office and hotel facilities.
A previous application involving such facilities did begin, he pointed out, but stalled at an early stage due to changing economic circumstances.
He added: “There has been no further interest in the development of this site for over five years based on all requirements of the Development Framework.
“The current proposal would, if implemented, allow the delivery of two of the four stated requirements namely residential (development) and the Clyde Walkway extension.
“Furthermore, the existing buildings on site have been demolished and the previous consent partially implemented. The site is therefore ‘brownfield’ in nature. A departure from the 2009 Local Plan can therefore be supported in this instance.”
A £25m business park plan submitted for the site in the early 2000s attracted criticism from Bothwell residents living 200 metres away across the river. They had been concerned that the rural outlook from their properties would be spoiled. The developer however had pointed out the business park would be screened by trees. No letters of objection however were lodged with planners on Craighead Properties’ housing plans.