Palacerigg Country Park to be revived as people power triumphs

Councillors have agreed to transfer control of part of Palacerigg Country Park in Cumbernauld to a community organisation in what is a spectacular victory for people power in the town.

Tireless volunteers from Palacerigg Community Trust have been awarded a 19-year lease covering the former Visitor Centre and surrounding plot, two longhouses, the blue barn, rotary and fields lying nearby.The Trust’s include community space, space for growing food, a cafe, outdoor learning for schools, animals and various events and activities.

Rent will be zero for the first year. However this will increase to £7000 annually from the fourth year.

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This is significantly less than the actual value of the lease but it was agreed that the potential benefit to the community was more important than the potential rent income.North Lanarkshire Council’s head of communities, Lizanne McMurrich, presented a report on the proposals to the environment and transportation committee via an online meeting – as volunteers tuned in hoping that their aspirations would be fully realised on the day they had all been waiting for.Ms McMurrich’s report then recommended approving the transfer, subject to various caveats covering a range of issues ranging from funding to animal welfare and continued council access to a longhouse.

She also noted that the trust had worked in close partnership with the council on its request and that this would continue while the transfer is finalised.

Before the committee unanimously agreed the proposals, convener Michael McPake (Labour, Gartcosh, Glenboig and Moodiesburn) commented: “I know from my own community who went through the same process and eventually got to the other side, it’s a big benefit to the community.

"It’s not an easy process but if you do it right it’s a rewarding process.”An announcement on Palacerigg Community Trust’s Facebook page states: “We would like to thank everyone who has shown their support over the last two years to Palacerigg Community Trust and Palacerigg Community Farm!

"It really has kept us going through all the setbacks and paperwork after paperwork!”

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