CUMBERNAULD has been controversially excluded from a £700,000 funding package which would have brought superfast broadband access to hundreds of local homes, it has been claimed.
As we have previously reported, residents living north of the M80 do not enjoy the same high speed broadband access available elsewhere in Cumbernauld.
And when it emerged that a North Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Government scheme was trying to identify areas most in need of investment, local community activists were swift to make contact with specially designated regeneration officers at NLC.
This involved Craigmarloch Community Council plus councillors Alan Masterton and Alan O’Brien who provided extensive feedback from locals and tried to establish the exact criteria for the award. It’s claimed that regeneration officers told them that it was too early to say - then informed them soon after that their area was not in the running for the award.
They are now trying to figure how best to move on from the blow, according to Craigmarloch Community Council’s chairman Mike Ogden.
Mr Ogden confirmed: “Craigmarloch Community Council and concerned residents from the areas affected will be working closely with our elected representatives and other relevant parties to bring this dire situation to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible.’’
Councillor Masterton added: “I find it incredible that NLC have not thought it worthy to invest anything in Cumbernauld given the clear broadband deficiencies here.
“It’s even more of a betrayal for local residents who went to a significant amount of effort to supply the council with information on this issue through in-depth surveys of the areas affected,” he added.
Councillor O’Brien said: “We were in at ground level with this from day one. Along with Councillor Masterton we were quite a formidable wee team. However, the decision ultimately was made without any consultation despite multiple meetings and almost daily contact with the relevant officers,” he added.
However, Paul Jukes NLC’s executive director of Environmental Services said: “The Government provided broadband maps showing areas to be commercially developed for high-speed next generation broadband.
“We cross-referenced all these areas with the council’s Local Plan to identify priority areas which might require financial assistance to allow them to benefit. Our aim is to invest in broadband with the aim of maximising economic impact.
“We are very well aware of the concerns of Cumbernauld residents and have passed their comments and submissions to the Scottish Government,” he added.