A planning hearing has ruled that a social housing development in Bellshill can be constructed despite objections.

The hearing concerned a plan by Wilson Developments to build 48 homes, a mixture of terraced and semi-detached houses plus cottage flats, on a site at Reema Road Industrial Estate, on behalf of Trust Housing Association.

The planning application attracted more than 30 objections, with councillor Angela Campbell, Bairdislands View Residents Association, the owners of the former Tata Steel site and the operator of Mossend International Railfreight Park.

Planning officers recommended that councillors conditionally approve the application, but noted that a legal agreement covering the provision of children’s play equipment will also be required.

Among those arguing for the application was Jackie McIntosh of Trust Housing Association, a nonprofit organisation which owns and manages 3700 homes across Scotland.

Around one-third of Trust’s homes are in North Lanarkshire, including two developments for older people in Bellshill. 

She said that the Reema Road development was already designated a funding priority in the North Lanarkshire strategic housing investment plan and Trust had been engaged in this project with the council and Scottish Government for almost two years.

She added that with the recent cut in the Scottish Government’s housing budget, it was “crucial” that planning permission for this project be granted by the end of the current financial year.

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She said the housing would be energy efficient and meet quality requirements and the site was in close proximity to various amenities in the town centre and would enhance housing choice in Bellshill, where there are more than 1600 people currently on the waiting list.

Delegates opposed to the application said that the housing was too close to busy industrial areas and could potentially affect the development of Mossend International Railfreight Park which operates at all hours of the day.

They also said there was nowhere suitable for the play equipment to be built. Noise problems could also be exacerbated in future – providing the example of rock-crushing machinery which had until recently been active at a nearby yard.

Andrew Stirling of rail operator PD Stirling emphasised the round-the-clock nature of operations at the rail terminal and there were many noise factors.

He added that investment at Mossend could be adversely impacted by the presence of a residential development. Mossend has attracted up to £60 million in investment and is forecast to create around 1500 jobs.

PD Stirling is also working alongside the council and Glasgow City Region on four major projects such as the A8 corridor, a new road intended to prevent the need for HGVs to pass through Bellshill.

Mr Stirling said the housing development was in the wrong place and his company had spent significant time and effort to date while the presence of new housing could potentially place doubt on investment in the area.

Council leader Jim Logue moved the recommendation to grant planning permission while councillor Bob Burgess called for a deferment to allow for a site visit although it was noted that no such visits have been considered necessary for some years. The resultant vote was 12-5 in favour of councillor Logue’s motion.