Calderbank: the campaign to save a landscape

Ann Glen and Kathleen Weetman of Woodhall, Faskine and Palacecraig Conservation Group talk about their campaign to save the Monklands canal and to create a Country Park.

Ann Glen is a Railway historian and has been campaigning for for her local area in Calderbank for decades. Calderbank is just on the edge of Airdrie and Coatbridge and was once a thriving village for people working in the foundries, mines and steel works of the area. She moved to the area from Glasgow in the 1970s with two small children, leaving an academic position at Glasgow University, and set about as a community organiser and activist – improving the area and is still very active today.

She was instrumental in getting the Monklands canal restored and recognised as a historic monument and was part of the group who put in the Calder heritage trail along the river, running from Drumgelloch to the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge. She is still campaigning today, to restore ‘Maggie’s Bridge’ a pedestrian bridge across the canal that offers a vital local route across to the paths, and for the local historic states to be designated as a Country Park.

Ann and Kathleen on a walk along the Monklands canal, Ann holds a bag she is collecting litter in

The area is all designated as Green Belt in the local plan which means that it should be protected from development. However there is now an application for 6000 houses to be built all across the area that the local community have worked so hard to restore and to put in paths and access. They have set up the Woodhall, Faskine and Palacecraig Conservation Group to work to preserve the area, which is very valued by the local community. “The Green Belt here is very much a ‘green lung’ for local people in a location with some of the worst health statistics in Western Europe. The North Calder Water and the Monkland Canal are vital nature corridors and places for local people to use. The assistance of APRS in providing specialist advice to us has been absolutely vital.”

We have helped Ann and the group object themselves to the development on the grounds of it being against the local plan and Green Belt policies and we have also objected to it ourselves. It has already been rejected but is being brought back again.

Ann speaking to Mark Stephen of Radio Scotland for the Out of Doors programme

Ann and Kathleen on ‘Maggie’s Bridge’ – which they are campaigning to get restored to enable people to cross the canal to reach the paths from Calderbank
The Monklands Canal and Calderbank behind – this whole area is under threat from a massive housing development
The Monklands Canal path which local campaigners got put in along with a wider network of paths
some of the area which is completely under threat from the huge housing development

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