Lease issue is holding back opening of ambitious revived Palacerigg plan

The long-awaited bid to revive Palacerigg Community Paris as a major visitor attraction has been held up for months by a lease issue that is testing the patience of the hard-working volunteers at the community trust that took it over.

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courtesy of Palacerigg Community Trust

The Cumbernauld News has been approached by members whose sole motivation is to get the park up and running with its restored animal collection and other family-friendly amenities But they say that their hands are tied because North Lanarkshire Council is dragging its heels in regard to the lease and they fear that even more red tape will be required if the situation is not addressed by the authority which used to oversee the park.

The trust's Jennifer Milne has sent a letter out to councillors in a quest for help, arguing that Cumbernauld residents are simply being deprived of what has been promised to them. A recent open day showcasing the facilities attracted vast crowds in what was the biggest post-lockdown event to be held in the town.

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She said: "Due to legal complications Palacerigg Community Trust has not yet received a draft lease for the land and buildings at Palacerigg from the council which was due to be with ourselves by November 2021, in line with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2013.

"We have recently been told that this will be forthcoming by the end of May 2022, however if this is not received we will have to implement the appeals process, which will then pass to the Scottish Government to progress if NLC is unable to meet its responsibilities."

A council spokesperson admitted: “This is particularly complex as it involves the shared use of property between the trust and the council and requires a service level agreement relating to agricultural tenancies. External legal advisers have been involved to ensure the lease meets the needs of both parties.

"Throughout the process officers have been in dialogue with the trust, most recently on April 26 to discuss and agree a number of points required to be documented within the lease. While the CAT for Palacerigg has been extremely complex and challenging, the council remains absolutely committed to a successful outcome for the trust, visitors and the council, and everything possible is being done to expedite this.”