Plans for a huge railhead logistics hub at Ravenscraig have been thrown out by North Lanarkshire councillors.
The Russell Group, one of the UK’s leading logistics companies, is seeking permission to build a railhead logistics hub at the former industrial site, which is now home to hundreds of new houses.
However, the plans have been thrown off track by the council who opted to reject the proposals.
Ryan O’Donnell, chairman of the Ravenscraig Community Action Group, told us: “Two Christmases ago, the Russell Group thought this was a deal done behind closed doors.
"North Lanarkshire communities, businesses, councillors, MPs and Scottish Labour, Conservative, SNP and Scottish Green MSPs said 'that isn’t so'.
“What the Russell Group asked was that this council cast aside two decades of planned progress and investment – but progressive place making happens by choice, not chance.
“Their flawed vision, as the council recognised, threatens that co-ordinated progress, locking out next steps investment, depriving North Lanarkshire of new and social housing; damaging our communities and setting a nationally dangerous precedent.
“This Christmas, two years on, we are grateful to members from all parties who sent a strong and clear message to the Russell Group and Ravenscraig Ltd that North Lanarkshire deserves better.
“We urge the applicant to reflect and recognise that rail hubs have an important role to play in Scotland’s future, but require sustainable sites in suitable locations.
“If they don’t, we as local communities and businesses - with our council, councillors, MSPs and MPs - stand ready to continue our fight.”
Councillors from three political parties were all united in their opposition to the development.
Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig councillor Kenneth Duffy is “delighted with the outcome” of the vote to reject the proposals.
Speaking after the vote, Councillor Duffy said: “I am delighted with this decision. Local people made their opinions clear and I am glad councillors listened and booted out the proposals.
“The likelihood is Russell Group will ask the Scottish Government to approve the application via appeal. This would be an afront to local decision making.
“I will be asking the local MSPs to make their voices heard in Parliament.
“It’s now time for the focus to be on new schools, homes, businesses and amenities on the site.”
The SNP’s Agnes Magowan said: “As a local councillor I want Ravenscraig to be an area where people want to live and move to, where there are active travel walking and cycling routes for all ages as well as new schools, parks, sports facilities, restaurants and retail which people can enjoy in a safe clean environment without being overlooked by factory buildings as high as tower blocks and suffering from noise and air pollution caused by 840 HGV lorries daily.
“I welcome the decision to refuse this intrusive development in the wrong location.”
Councillor Nathan Wilson, of the Scottish Conservatives, added: “This was entirely the wrong proposal for Ravenscraig for so many reasons including it would have taken away land currently zoned for new housing and it stood in opposition to the approved North Lanarkshire Local Development Plan.
“There are fantastic plans for new schools on the former steelworks land and surely a rail freight terminal with a huge number of associated vehicle movements on the Ravenscraig site from large transporter vehicles on a daily basis would have presented very serious road safety challenges.
“The result makes clear that Ravenscraig is undoubtedly for families and not freightliners!”
Kenneth Russell, director at Russell Group, said: "The Russell Group are disappointed with the result of the planning hearing as our proposed development would have brought significant economic benefit to North Lanarkshire.
"We were fully committed to making Ravenscraig home to our headquarters and logistics hub, which would have created 2000 jobs, but will now take some time to consider our next steps."
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