Angry local residents are forming a new action group to fight plans for a major development they say will destroy “irreplaceable countryside”, threaten wildlife and create pollution on “a grand scale” in North Lanarkshire.
Glasgow-based developer Orchard Brae has outlined proposals to build a landmark new settlement off the M8 at Eurocentral. Named EuroPark, the project will include 3,000 new homes, known as the Villages, as well as hotel and business premises, a new school, health club and cinema. There are also plans for an notable artwork.
But campaigners who oppose the scheme say losing three square miles of greenbelt land is not acceptable.
They say the proposed site, which is home to the 200-year-old Monkland Canal and one of Scotland’s earliest railways, is a haven for nature and is used as parkland by locals.
Now the action group is calling on council planners to block the plans and designate the site as a country park. Author and geographer Ann Glen, acting secretary of Monkland Glen Community Council and a founding member of Green Belt Group, says it would spark a massive increase in air pollution and threaten species such as kingfishers, badgers and bats.
“The area is already effectively a country park,” she said.
“If this development is permitted it will lead to urban sprawl and pollution on a grand scale. It will destroy the greenbelt and result in an estimated 6,000 extra cars on already congested roads.
“It is shameful at a time when the value of green places for health and well-being is increasingly recognised that such an application should be in the offing. The whole area should have been made a country park long time ago. ”
But developers claim the scheme will improve the quality of life in existing settlements while providing a long-term economic boost for the area.
“Our hope is to achieve an outward-looking, nationally important development that interacts, informs and enhances its environment, breathing new life into underused green space while actively improving the canal network for the benefit of all,” said Orchard Brae director Scott Gillespie.
He insists the Villages will be “an attractive place to live”.