Opposition to new Monklands site grows as grassroots group gets involved

A Cumbernauld-based forum which represents more than 20 special interest groups has become the latest critic of NHS Lanarkshire’s choice of site for Monklands Hospital.

Cumbernauld Community Forum has been in touch with this newspaper to express its dissatisfaction with the choice of West Moffat - which trumped the two other sites of Glenmavis and Gartcosh that were nearer to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.

The board has now handed the recommendation over to health secretary Jeane Freeman who will make the final decision.

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Members insist that the choice was fully in line with public consultation and transport links will be improved for ease of access but the forum’s chairman Billy Lees has slammed the move,as MP Stuart McDonald and Jamie Heburn MSP did last week.

Mr Lees said: “Our group believes this is the wrong choice and we’ve got a lot of support in the area with this.

“We are sick hearing about transport links being improved - it’s like Westway Retail Park all over again where nothing was done.

“We also believe the exact location is too far away from Drumgelloch station which it’s supposed to be near.

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“The forum will be seeking some sort of meeting with NHS Lanarkshire to discuss this matter further.”

However,Monklands Replacement Project director Graeme Reid has said:“Travel and transport emerged as the overriding theme from NHS Lanarkshire’s extensive engagement with the public and our staff, and was given detailed consideration by the Board members with regard to each site option.

“The Board noted that the new East Airdrie Link Road, which will run between the M8 and Cumbernauld, will improve travel times to the Wester Moffat area from communities including Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.

“Allied to improved road links, public transport infrastructure will be at the heart of the MRP. We will work closely with partners like North Lanarkshire Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport Scotland to ensure necessary improvements to public transport are part of the overall project.

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“NHS Lanarkshire will undertake a public consultation process as part of the planning application. This will help inform the development of a hospital transport strategy, which will be required as part of the planning approval process.

“The new hospital is planned for operation around 2028 and further details on specific public transport routes and services will be advanced with stakeholders as the hospital progresses towards opening.”

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