A plan to bring a new Early Learning Centre to Bothwell which has attracted more than 180 objections is to be considered by planners at South Lanarkshire Council next Tuesday (March 23)
The site has been earmarked for the village’s Clyde Terrace – and campaigners are taking issue not with the need for a nursery but the location which has been slammed as “second rate.”
Resident Joanna Pugh said: “The proposed nursery is being wedged into a narrow gap between two housing blocks. Unlike every other council run early learning centre in South Lanarkshire, there’s no room on site for a proper car park and the space allowed for outdoor play is miniscule.”
A transport assessment commissioned by the council to support its planning application was uploaded to its planning portal on February 12th this year, four months after the original planning application was submitted.
It proposes narrowing the width of the road on Clyde Terrace and reducing the width of pavements to create four lay-bys.
Local residents claim the lay bys will not accommodate the large number of cars arriving in peak drop off and pick up periods and they have major concerns about public safety.
They have sent a detailed dossier of concerns about the transport assessment to the council and await a response.
Local resident Michael Mclaughlin said, “This application has absolutely nothing in its favour other than it ticks a box for the Council in terms of early years targets. It will let down the families that it is supposed to benefit. It’s impossible to understand why the Council’s Education department are persisting with this”.
Campaigners believe the transport assessment underestimates the number of cars that will be used to transport young children to and from the nursery, which has capacity for up to 113 children at a time.
The council’s own figures confirm that 60% of nursery users will live outside Bothwell and despite claims to the contrary, a map supplied in the council report actually confirms most of Bothwell’s housing estates, especially those favoured by young families, are well outside a suggested ten minute walk.
The assessment does not offer any safety measures to help parents and carers with young children cross what will be a very busy road in peak periods, there is no reference to disabled parking and there is no assessment of increased collision risk on what will be a narrower road.
Campaigners are dumbfounded that the council assessment does not consider the implications of the long standing daily traffic and parking problems at Bothwell Primary School, literally around the corner from the Clyde Terrace site; especially as the growing levels of traffic from the nearby partially completed Bothwellbank housing estate are adding to traffic problems in the area.
They believe it’s inevitable the new lay bys will spark competition for spaces involving drivers dropping and picking up at the primary school.
Campaigners are also mystified by the council report’s endorsement of one local bus service (203) that would typically involve a round trip of 90 minutes to drop off a child at Clyde Terrace and return home and another service (255) that would take 60 minutes for a round trip.
The council did not respond to our request for comment.