Cumbernauld Village set to be regenerated

IT MUST be mildly frustrating when you have existed for hundreds of years and are nevertheless eclipsed by a nearby location that only came into being half a century ago.

Thursday, 22nd July 2010, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2010, 12:24 pm

That is the lot of Cumbernauld Village which lies next to its younger neighbour but arguably does NOT enjoy the same exposure as the so-called New Town.

An extra share of a spotlight which has shone heavily on carbuncles, condemned flats, down-at-hee amenities and often discredited planning ideals from the 1960s is something that Cumbernauld Village is happy to live without.

Its air, with the historic Lang Riggs, Cumbernauld Old Parish Church, the graveyard and its atmospheric Main Street seems somehow more rarefied.

That is entirely in keeping with the fact that this is a Conservation Area. Bearing as it does, the hallmarks of the historical town planning which mark out so many Scottish historical hubs.

It is reminiscent of a classically laid out medieval town, with its sloping road up to the kirk, just as Stirling is.

The modern tower blocks, factories and giant megastructure of the shopping centre may are fully visible from the windows of many Village homes – but they might as well lie in a different era to this historic haven.

It is a special place that Cumbernauld Village residents are rightly very proud of.

Rightly or wrongly, many of them don't feel that North Lanarkshire Council has sufficiently treasured its particular heritage.

But an exciting new regeneration programme called Cumbernauld Village Conservation Area Regeneration scheme – or CARS – is set to get underway.

As we have already reported, it has the disused site of Cumbernauld Primary in its plans, but three other buildings will also be revamped – although it is not certain to what end.

According to Cumbernauld Village Community Council, the former Cumbernauld Village library premises is in line for these much vaunted improvements.

And that two historic public houses - The Villager and The Spur will also be targeted in the plans.

It could mark a very promising start for Cumbernauld Village – and grab it a bigger share of the spotlight in years to come. And for all the

right reasons too!

What the council said

THE News was keen to hear what North Lanarkshire Council had to say about the plans for Cumbernauld Village - which so many see as being long overdue.

Dave Sutton, Built Heritage and Design Team Leader stressed that the council was heavily committed not simply to the plans themselves - but working with locals to bring them to fruition.

"The council is at the start of a three-year project to enhance the conservation area within Cumbernauld Village. We are working closely with Cumbernauld Village Community Council to ensure we reflect local priorities," stated Mr Sutton.

"Following the successful Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme bid, we have also secured funding assistance from Historic Scotland to take forward a number of projects to improve the area.

"Indeed, in approving the bid, Historic Scotland praised the council for its strong community involvement. That is why we need everyone with an interest in the future of Cumbernauld Village – residents, businesses, community groups and property owners – to get involved to help ensure the projects are successful," he stressed.

"We have for example written to the owners of a number of derelict or "gap" sites to try and help them move things forward. The community council want us to tackle these sites in and around the Main Street – but we need the owners to get involved.

"We are also seeking a meeting with the owners of the former library at Ardenlea. At Langriggs some landscaping work has already been carried out to improve the area. We are now meeting on a regular basis with the community council to help ensure there is good communication," said Mr Sutton.

Its secretary Oliver Allen stressed that everyone was working closely together to achieve their aims.

"We are a lot more hopeful about this than we were say three years ago," said Mr Allen.

"Obviously at this point in time the project with the school is our main priority and we would like to see this used as a community facility. We are happy that the project is underway and we've just got to hope for the best," he said.