The County You Live, Work And Play
SLC Cashing In
South Lanarkshire Council have been accused of trying to cash in on community land in Cambuslang. The authority recently put a grass area between Stewartfield Drive and Douglas Drive up for sale.
But local residents have been left fuming at the news and want the council to consider placing the area, known locally as Douglas Park, into community ownership.
Dozens turned out on Saturday 29th August to protest against the plans.
Tenders for the land were being invited until 21st August, but locals still hope any potential sale can be stopped.
They say the land was gifted to the community to be used as a public space and the council have no right to sell it. However, the council insisted they own the land and have every right to dispose of it.
On their website, the council describe the land as a “triangular shaped site sloping downwards south to north comprising of a grassed area of land traversed by overgrown footpaths.” They say it would be suitable for a residential development.
One resident of Stewarton, said the land was well used by local kids, including her own, Fionnlagh, Molly and Lexie. She said, “Initially, this was all kept really quiet, no-one knew anything about it.
“The kids play down there as it’s the only bit of green space about. People even go on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks across the city.
“Over the years, people seem to have been using it more and more. It’s the kid’s wee bit of nature, somewhere they can go and just play and this comes at a time when we’re trying to get kids away from their iPads.”
Another local resident, said: “There’s a bit of dubiety over whether the council are even allowed to do this.
“The land was given to the community to be used as an amenity, so there is an element of cashing in.
“There was originally a garden here but it’s now been run down. The kids have got a swing up there and they go sledging in the winter.
“I understand the council may see it as a financial burden but we see it as a valuable resource. If they don’t want to pay for it, perhaps the community can take it on, but we weren’t even approached.”
The residents have won the backing of Cambuslang Community Council, who wrote to chief executive Lindsey Freeland outlining their concerns.
They said allowing a housing development on the land would be in violation of the council’s own local plan and the proposed sale was counter to the council’s own greenspace policy.
Other concerns raised is the designation of the land and the lack of consultation.
Chair John Taylor, said: “We are very concerned at the proposed sale of Douglas Park.
“While we understand the huge financial pressures that South Lanarkshire Council are under, we think it wrong arbitrarily to sell off a piece of greenspace that has been used as a small park for over a hundred years and is valued by local residents.
“We are particularly disappointed at the lack of consultation on this issue either with the local residents or with Cambuslang Community Council. We urge South Lanarkshire Council to stop the sale, review this issue and meet with the residents.”
The Council’s Executive Director of Housing and Technical Resources, Ann Gee, said: “The Council owned site at the corner of Stewarton Drive and Douglas Drive was marketed for sale having been declared surplus by the Council’s Executive Committee at the meeting of April, 29 2015.
“The Council has a valid ownership of the site and the development brief prepared by Planning and Building Standards Services confirms that the site is identified within the development plan as being located within an area designated for residential use.
“A closing date of August 21, 2015 was set for offers and the offers received will be assessed by the relevant Council services taking into consideration all the objections and observations received including those made by the Community Council.”