Communities in Wishaw and Shotts are set to benefit as ambitious investment plans of £1.2 billion are announced to transform our towns and communities into vibrant, thriving, sustainable places
The plans will reshape town centres into dynamic multi-use spaces, develop business and retail opportunities, improve housing and schools, develop local and community hubs, enhance local services and leisure and green spaces.
Councillor Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, explained, “Over the next five years, we are investing £1.2 billion in creating town and community hubs, in our country parks, and in essential infrastructure and housing to help create a sustainable future for town centres that will benefit people and communities across North Lanarkshire.
“The draft visions for our town centres bring a tangible reality to the outline concepts and these will be developed with our communities, for our communities, so that we are creating vibrant, safe, resilient places where people are supported at all stages of their life and businesses can thrive.”
A number of developments have already taken place in each area in support of ‘The Plan’.
In Shotts, we’ve built new council homes on the site of the former Harthill Primary School. We’ve delivered new educational establishments for the local area including: Alexander Peden Primary School, Shotts Family Learning Centre and Calderhead High School. Greenspace improvements and investment work at the local nature reserve in Kingshill have seen the delivery of a key path improvement project with volunteers.
For Wishaw, the vacant site at the former Cambusnethan Primary School is now a council housing development with 20 homes; we’ve built another 20 homes in Walkerburn Drive, Coltness and we’ve purchased 11 ‘off the shelf’ homes directly from the developer, Keepmoat, at Ravenscraig. We have plans to deliver more. We’re now on site at Dimsdale, Wishaw and progressing plans for Gowkthrapple, (phase 1) for delivering 97 new homes. This site forms part of our ambitious plans to demolish our tower blocks and replace these with new, modern homes that meet the needs of our tenants.
Town centres are also the focus of our exciting plans and we’re working to transform these. As part of our Strategic Housing Investment Plan new projects are being delivered by the council and housing associations. Twenty new homes, at the site of the former Wishaw market, East Academy Street, have been built by Link Housing Association. We’re delivering 16 affordable homes in Robert Street, Wishaw, and due for completion next year are 42 new homes at the former Tesco site on Main Street by Trust Housing Association.
Other town centre projects being progressed include the acquisition and future demolition of an outdated office facility and car park in King Street, for new town centre homes. Design development is underway at Graham Street, Wishaw, for 18 homes and we’re progressing the acquisition of a derelict church on Caledonian Road, to support the regeneration of a key gateway site in the town centre.
We’ve already delivered a number of new schools and educational centres in the Wishaw Area: Cambusnethan PS, St. Ignatius PS, Wishaw Academy, Coltness HS, Calderbridge PS, Clyde Valley HS and Orchard PS, Netherton Family Learning Centre, Abernethyn Family Learning Centre and Innerleithen PS. Newmains and St Brigids Community Hub is now on site and expected for completion next year.
We’re delivering a new Community Hub in Newmains, the design of which will help bring benefits to whole communities. We’re currently assessing the feasibility for Wishaw Town Hub, details of which will be brought forward to future committee and for consultation.
The town hubs and smaller, complementary community hubs will provide a range of services including education, leisure, public services, commercial opportunities and flexible workspaces, bringing communities closer in one central space. Individual Town Action Plans will be developed through future Community Boards, which will also review final town visions and investment priorities for each town.
Our vision for Shotts is to create a new sense of place built around a new town centre that is a focus for the community and the delivery of services to all the neighbourhoods, including outlying smaller centres and villages. The core opportunities involve:
- Developing a new mixed use town centre,
- Celebrating the town’s heritage and industrial past,
- Connecting the school, health and leisure facilities,
- Developing the green network, and
- Strengthening the community and Shotts as a great place to live.
Our town vision for Wishaw is an enterprising well-connected town. Wishaw will build on this quality of place creating a new compact and liveable centre that connects The Cross, the Health Centre, the Rail Station and a new Community Hub and green network. The vision will be built around ‘town liveability’ strengthening Wishaw’s place quality and supporting community wealth and civic value within an enterprising and inclusive economy. The core opportunities involve:
- Developing a new Town Centre Hub co-located alongside the town centre,
- Focussing the town centre around The Cross, the Kirk Road and connections to the rail station,
- Strengthening the green network, active travel and connections to Clyde and Calder Valleys, and
- Promoting ‘lifestyle appeal’ based on the town’s community assets.
Councillor Logue added: “These projects will be underpinned by the highest quality digital infrastructure and a network of active travel routes, so our people are connected digitally and physically to our towns, communities and greenspaces. The pace of change is vast and we’re creating places that people truly want to live, learn, work, invest and visit.”