THERE is anger in a tiny Clydesdale hamlet that a new school and homes will be built in the village in the wrong place because of a council ‘deal’ with a landowner.
In Elsrickle South Lanarkshire Council will soon be replacing the old Walston Primary School with one for much of the wider Blackmount area on a new site in the village. The current school is in a remote site between the villages of Walston and Elsrickle.
A local landowner has offered to donate to the council a site on Elsrickle’s Carnwath Road on which to build the new school.
However, some local residents were unhappy when they heard that the donor of the land would also be applying for planning permission to the council to build new homes nearby. It is understood that between six and ten houses could eventually be proposed.
While in no way improper – the concept of ‘Planning Gain’ in which councils and developers come to mutually suitable arrangements is well-established – some fear that this might lead to the council turning a blind eye to alleged problems with the new school and housebuilding site.
One very concerned Elsrickle resident, Michelle Walters, told the Gazette: “The building of the school and houses in this proposed location will create a flood plain which will affect my house insurance – if I can get any – and will almost certainly be detrimental to the value of all the houses below this site.”
She is now organising a joint letter from similarly worried residents to the council, spelling out their worries and has been assured by the council planning department that these views will be taken into account when and if the housing application is made.
The area’s main SLC councillor, Hamish Stewart, confirmed that the school building plan would also involve a forthcoming housing development bid.