Don’t repeat Lanark's Smyllum mistake

The former open communal entrances to the Smyllum flats caused constant problems
The former open communal entrances to the Smyllum flats caused constant problems

A warning has been sent out to Tesco not to repeat a mistake made nearly 50 years ago when Lanark’s Smyllum flats were built.

The supermarket giant is planning to build 30 ‘affordable’ flats in three blocks on the spare ground at Gallowhill that slopes up from its Lanark store to Baxter Lane and Quarryknowe.
While the development of new homes at a moderate price received a general welcome from Lanark Community Council, some members were unhappy with some of Tesco’s proposals.
Some pointed out that the central block of the three, at three storeys high, would be the highest structure in the town centre and very prominent on the town’s skyline.
It would be even higher than the existing homes in Quarryknowe and would see residents in that area lose the panoramic view of the Clyde Valley they have enjoyed for decades since their homes were built as council houses after the Second World War.
One member anticipated that Quarryknowe residents might object at the loss of daylight they might suffer being in ther shadow of the new flats.
However, an even greater worry to the council was the plan to have a communal entrance to this block, a proposal that rung alarm bells with council member Eleanor McLean.
She commented: “That could lead to the same problems they had through having communal, open entrances in the Smyllum flats.”
This was a reference to the long-running problems with vandalism and even arson in the open entrances of the early 1970’s blocks before South Lanarkshire Council took action to enclose them and have a door entry system.
The council, in light of the much-needed affordable housing for Lanark, decided not to lodge an objection to the development but to point out their reservations to South Lanarkshire Council planning officers.
The community council did, however, decide to lodge a formal objection to the building of a new house on the side of one of Lanark’s most attractive and impressive old buildings, Lady
Hozier House on Hyndford Road.
Built as an convalecent hospital, it is now private flats after serving, at various times, as a business centre and even a temporary home for Lanark Sheriff Court.
The council felt that the new structure would be out of character with Hozier House and that a proposed demolition of part of the building’s original wall would also detract from the handsome building.