North Lanarkshire Council has approved planning permission in principle for a major leisure and retail development in Cumbernauld.
At a meeting of the planning committee councillors unanimously agreed to allow Dutch firm Promontoria Holdings to proceed with its plans for Westway Retail Park.
The proposed development has scope for a cinema, hotel, restaurants, retail, a car showroom and more, including associated parking and landscaping work.
This was despite a challenge from lawyers acting on behalf of the owners of the Antonine Centre who called for a hearing on the matter, claiming the council had mishandled the application and that the development presented a threat to the town centre.
However, it was deemed that there were insufficient grounds to take the matter to a hearing as this would require six objections, a consultee objection or an objection from a community council.
Castlecary Community Council did not go so far as formally objecting, although they expressed some concern regarding potentially increased traffic levels in the village.
However, council officers feel that appropriate road signs and recently introduced traffic calming should deter drivers from going through Castlecary. The council’s roads department did not object to the development.
The Health and Safety Executive also expressed concerns due to the proximity of the Williant Grant & Sons site, but stopped short of objecting,
William Grant & Sons and Hamcap, owners of Cumbernauld Shopping Centre did object, by the proposals have overall attracted widespread public approval.
The council received a total of 116 representations from the public of which 110 expressed support, one was neutral and five objected.
The site in question has existing planning permission for a retail development of up to 17,000 square metres whereas the proposed development covers 4000 square metres.
Cumbernauld North councillor Tom Fisher said: “I’m delighted that these ambitious plans have finally come to fruition.
“The Westway Retail development has suffered in the recent past as a result of the financial crash and its full potential has thus far not been realised.
“As the local councillor for this area, I know how important this expansion will be for the local community and in particular, how excited my constituents are about having the first cinema in Cumbernauld since the County closed down in the early 1980s.
“I look forward to work starting on the project and will continue to consult with the local community to ensure that their voice is heard as the expansion develops.
“It is my hope that this development will finally showcase Westway as it was meant to be – a first class retail and community asset for the people of Cumbernauld.”
Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Service