This application requires to be considered against both the provisions of the development plan and also any other matters that are considered relevant to this specific proposal. The application also requires to be considered in terms of the likely impact of the proposal on the amenity of the surrounding community by assessing the benefits resulting from the removal of the play areas against any anticipatedheputed disadvantages.
While in terms of the adopted Monklands District Local Plan 1991 the application site is located within a larger area designated for Industrial purposes (Policies ECON 2 and ECON 3), the industrial designation is however primarily a reflection on the previous industrial use of the surrounding land most of which, with the exception of Dundyvan Industrial Estate, subsequently lapsed into disuse and abandonment. The majority of this former industrial land was the subject of a major site decontamination and stabilisation project carried out in 1995 by the Lanarkshire Development Agency in partnership with the relevant land owners under the auspices of a “Derelict Land ReclamationScheme” and as a pre-requisitefor the future re-development of the site. In line with the LDA’s preferred after use of the site Persimmon Homes Ltd. were subsequently granted planning permission (ref: C/Ol/Ol42O/FUL) by decision notice dated 13‘h September 2002 for the erection of 235 private dwellinghouses. That development is currently not yet fully completed and the approved layout incorporates a large centrally located area that has been retained for general open space amenity purposes including a dedicated toddlers play area and a multi-purpose sports area. This current proposal seeks to remove the play area and allow for the non-provisionof the sports area.
At the meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee of 4‘h May 2005, a report was submitted by the Director of Administration on a petition received from residents of the Strawberry Fields Development,Souterhouse Road, Coatbridge requesting the removal of a recently constructed play area (100 signatures) within that development. Following consideration of the terms of the report the Director of Planning & Environment was requested to investigate the matter further and report back to this Committee. At the subsequent meeting of the Planning & Environment Committee on June 2005 members were advised that the play arealmulti-purpose sports area were to be provided as part of a detailed landscaping scheme by the developers i.e. Persimmon Homes (West of Scotland) Ltd. as a specific requirement (under condition no. of planning permission C/Ol/Ol42O/FUL . Persimmon Homes (West of Scotland) Ltd. had advised that a planning application was to be submitted for the removal of the play area and non provision of the multi-purpose sports area.
The toddler’s play area has been formally laid out with various item’s of play equipment and is located directly to the rear of the houses on Glenafton Grove. The multi-purpose sports area has not as yet been provided although the affected land is currently grassed as part of the surrounding larger central amenity open space area. Taken the on-going problems of anti-social behaviour associated with the play area, as demonstrated through the petition received, and as confirmed by the Police, then the benefits of the play area to the residents is questionable.
Having regard to the points of objection received my comments are as follows:
The benefits of the play area to the local residents must be assessed against the dis- amenity caused to those same residents by the anti-social problems created by the provision of that facility. The removal of the play area, and the reinstatement of the affected land to grass will retain the same level of available amenity land within the development for use by the surrounding residents/children.
It is debatable whether the repositioning of the play area within the site would remove the anti-social problems associated with it as the only alternative locations would be in close proximity to the existing location. The problem appears that the play area is a magnet for the congregation of youths and only its removal would solve the problem.
The provision of this play area has, as demonstrated by the level of signatures on the petition submitted (IOO), become not a selling point for the development but a major problem to the residents which may defer potential purchasers.