Viewpark volunteers win "epic battle" after council's decision is overturned by Scottish Government

Volunteers have won an "epic" battle for control of a local authority garden complex after the destruction of rare plants worth a five-figure sum.
By Clare GrantBy Clare Grant
By Clare Grant

Campaigners were shocked by the loss of orchids and 60-year-old cactus plants at Viewpark Gardens. Now they've been given the go-ahead to take over the site and vowed to restore the gardens to their former glory.

The venue hosted an annual garden festival and was a popular location for wedding photographs but North Lanarkshire Council closed the doors two years ago, saying it could no longer afford the running costs. Hundreds of rare plants in the greenhouses were destroyed when the heating was turned off. Locals branded the £25,000 loss "devastating" and set up Viewpark Gardens Trust.

Their application to take over the gardens via a community asset transfer was rejected by the council which valued the site at £1.5 million and wanted to sell to a developer. The council said the trust had no track record and questioned its financial viability – but crucially, its decision has now been overturned on appeal by the Scottish Government.

viewpark gardensviewpark gardens
viewpark gardens

Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Stephanie Callaghan said: "This is a truly epic achievement by a small group of fearless campaigners. Despite the sad loss of some rare, irreplaceable plants, the volunteers battled on tenaciously. Their hard-fought victory paves the way for rejuvenated gardens and a brighter future.”

For more on the plans that the group with its 1000 strong membership has for the gardens, see Page 5.