Could ‘old bones’ bring garden centre’s plans to a grinding halt?

Three generations of family at Gouldings Garden Centre
Three generations of family at Gouldings Garden Centre

Prehistoric remains could scupper plans to extend an award-winning garden centre.

Gouldings says a new adventure park would create jobs and boost tourism in the Clyde Valley.

But an archaeology expert says no work should go ahead until a full evaluation of the site is carried out. It’s even suggested that South Lanarkshire Council should consider rejecting the planning application if “significant” remains are uncovered.

Gouldings Garden Centre, on the banks of the River Clyde at Rosebank was named Best Outdoor Living Retailer in last month’s annual Garden Centre Association Scottish awards.

It was also runner-up in the Best Garden Centre category.

The family-run firm is looking to diversify by creating leisure facilities including an adventure park and a foot golf course.

However, Martin O’Hare, of West of Scotland Archaeology Service, said evidence of an ancient human burial was discovered when a cairn was removed from nearby agricultural land nearly 200 years ago.

Mr O’Hare stated: “The proximity of this major prehistoric burial monument to the plot of ground proposed for development means that there would be an increased potential for similar or related material to be present.

“It would not be unexpected for additional burial to be present in the area surrounding a cairn.

“Material would be at risk of removal as a result of earth-moving operations likely to be required for construction of the adventure park.”

Mr O’Hare pointed out that it’s Scottish Government policy to preserve relics where possible.

He added: “If the survival of significant archaeological remains on the site were to be confirmed, the planning authority would need to consider the weight that should be attached to their preservation by refusal of the development proposals, by grant of consent subject to conditions or by modification of the details of the proposals.

“Preservation ‘in situ’ is always to be preferred, but if this is not feasible the excavation and recording of the remains may be an acceptable alternative.”

Mr O’Hare warned that excavation, recording and publication of remains “can be expensive”.

No one from Gouldings was available for comment.