Major changes coming for LAPs

The meeting took place at Motherwell Civic Centre

The meeting took place at Motherwell Civic Centre

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Far-reaching plans to overhaul North Lanarkshire’s Local Area Partnerships have been approved.

Major changes include the formation of a new LAP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth with the Northern Corridor retaining its LAP status.

The plans were outlined in a report to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee, which passed them unanimously at its meeting yesterday (Thursday).

A further two reports will be submitted to the committee in September proposing LAPs be given their own budgets and pre-planning consultee status in dealing with major planning applications.

The moves are part of a drive to give local communities greater opportunity to participate in decisions affecting their areas.

Councillor Andrew Spowart, convener of the Transformation Committee, with responsibility for streamlining and improving council business practices, said: “This is a huge boost for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and I hope we can now move quickly to setting up the new LAP.

“We have looked at the LAP structure and the six areas in great detail in recent months and it very soon became clear there was a need for a major overhaul.

“Ward boundary changes and population changes over the past few years mean changes are needed to ensure proper representation.

“Today’s agreement is the first step towards allowing residents to play a more pivotal role in local decision making.”

Among the recommendations agreed were:

The number of LAPS can be amended, potentially creating new bodies to reflect community population and Ward boundary changes.

Develop Locality Plans across the council area.

Allow LAPs to become formal consultees in key areas such as major planning applications.

Organise flexible meeting times and venues to meet community needs.

Develop social media platforms to ensure two-way communication.

Councillor Spowart added: “I think these represent a quite radical shift in emphasis.

“LAPs are about local decision making within local areas, effectively putting very real power in residents’ hands.”

At the full meeting of the council later the same afternoon Cumbernauld North councillor Alan O’Brien tried to raise a motion calling on Cumbernauld to be given an LAP, but this was removed from the agenda.