Secret talks on Westfield retail plans

North Lanarkshire Council intends to exclude the public from today's discussion of the legal challenge to a planned retail park.

The operators of Cumbernauld town centre are pursuing legal action to block the proposed Westfield retail park near Broadwood Stadium.

This £20m development is supported by many residents, who would welcome the addition of new outlets by big names such as M&S Simply Food, Aldi and Home Bargains as well as the projected creation of around 200 jobs.

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The petition to do so will be discussed at today’s Planning and Transportation meeting in Motherwell Civic Centre, but will be preceded by a motion to exclude the public.

Barry McCulloch, one of the representatives for the Westfield area, is in favour of the retail park and wants today’s discussions to be made public.

He said: “I have requested that this item be open to the public and also that I would like to be in attendance at the committee to make a case for building shops on the site.”

A spokesperson for both parts of the town centre said: “We had no objections to the plans for a supermarket and neighbourhood centre for Westfield.

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“Disappointingly, following the initial application, this morphed into a retail park.

“This would have drawn some retailers and customers away from or centre, weakening one of the most thriving mixed shopping and leisure offerings in the area.

“Our action reflects our view that this development would hamper ongoing efforts to reinvigorate the town and flies in the face of Scottish Government planning policy which is opposed to out of town developments.

“We would rather not be taking this action bit it is currently necessary for our interest and those of our shops.”