Depot to shut

Akey facility in Cumbernauld is to close - as a complex ‘job swap’ operation gets under way to save money.

It is understood that grounds maintenance base Blairlinn Depot, which was responsible for gritting, will be shut by North Lanarkshire Council - and that staff are being transferred to another council-owned depot , Wardpark.

This had been the base for Cumbernauld’s bin collections - and the binmen in turn will be moved on.

For in a fresh twist, Wardpark-based staff will be moved to a new ‘superbase’ in Souterhouse Road, Coatbridge - which will act as an operational hub servicing Airdrie, Coatbridge and the whole of Cumbernauld.

Kenneth Wilson, head of NLC’s land services, said “Management posts within land services have been reduced as part of the council’s savings requirement. As a result, the way we deliver services has to be re-organised and centralised.

“We aim to close the Blairlinn depot, currently a base for grounds maintenance staff. They will move to the Wardpark depot, while waste management staff at Wardpark will move to Souterhouse Road, which will become an operational hub servicing the whole of Coatbridge, Airdrie and the northern corridor.

“We calculate the savings from these moves to be more than £50,000 in the first year, which allows us to protect as many jobs as possible.”

He stressed there would be no reduction in service provision but this has failed to reassure community groups.

Craimarloch Community Council had expressed concern over the perceived lack of gritting in Cumbernauld during last December’s Artic snap. Chairman Barney Kinsler said: “Workers who live locally in the north area will pass those from Coatbridge daily as their work places have swapped around. Given the severe winters we are experiencing, there is concern that they will have further to travel and neither will be able to access the vehicles required to grit and clear the roads.

Councillor Alan O’Brien, who also fears possible implications from the new set-up, said: ‘It’s lunacy to think of guys who work locally having to travel all the way to Coatbridge and then come back here to do their job.

“It’s going to involve extra travel costs and about 10 hours travel time onto their working week.”