The Centre Cumbernauld, built in 1967 as part of the new town development, is ultimately expected to be replaced with a Town Hub as part of a long-term, multi-million pound programme
The purchase will mean that the vast majority of the original town centre buildings will be owned by the local authority. Council-owned facilities such as Tryst Sports Centre, Cumbernauld Library and other offices in the town centre will also be replaced, with facilities transferring to the new state-of-the-art hub as part of the venture.
The implications of the scheme for Cornerstone House Centre’s community-owned building at Esk Walk are unclear at this stage, although the organisation welcomes the opportunity to be involved in planning discussions. Councillor Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said:
“The acquisition of The Centre Cumbernauld is an extremely significant part of the town vision for Cumbernauld and would represent a huge step forward in the regeneration of the town.
“While the building represented the future in the 1960s, it is clear that it does not fit with residents’ vision of what they need from a modern town centre.
“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that Cumbernauld is a vibrant, living town and our overall investment in town centres, hundreds of millions of pounds, is about ensuring a sustainable future.”
“While these plans will have a significant positive impact on Cumbernauld, they will take a number of years to realise.
“During that time, Cumbernauld remains open for business and the Council will support retailers and other businesses throughout to maximise their potential and continue to attract custom.”
The Centre Cumbernauld is roughly 300,000 square feet of retail space with 1,000 car parking spaces. It houses retailers like Boots, Iceland, Argos and New Look, as well as a pub and some banks.
The current landlord, Glasgow-based property firm Hamcap, is expected to continue to manage the building on the Council’s behalf for the time being.
The cost of the purchase remains commercially confidential and is therefore not in the public domain, although it is known that the plans are part of a wider £3.5 billion-pound effort to redesign towns across North Lanarkshire, putting schools and public services back at the centre of urban communities.
The move forms part of The Place The Vision programme, which was announced by the local authority in 2020 with a view to significantly improving North Lanarkshire by 2030. At the time, A Vision for Cumbernauld was published on the Council’s website.
The ambitious proposal recognises that the old retail-centric model for town centres is no longer sustainable due to the growth of out-of-town and online shopping, and highlights a desire to ‘re-imagine’ town centres by developing a new niche for them.
Local residents are set to be involved and engaged in a plan to redefine Cumbernauld as a ‘21st century new town’ built around low-carbon living over the next decade. This will include citizens having their say on a proposed new, smaller town centre incorporating a mixture of learning, health, shopping and leisure facilities.
It is believed that plans are afoot for The Centre Cumbernauld and Fleming House to be replaced with a new Town Square and Civic Event Space. Antonine Shopping Centre (with a new north frontage), Asda and Tesco Extra will remain as part of the new structure.
Refurbishment of New College Lanarkshire’s Cumbernauld Campus, Central Health Centre and Cumbernauld Bus Station are expected as part of the initiative, along with the building of modern school and community campuses where Our Lady’s High School and St Maurice’s High School are currently situated.
Furthermore, the wider layout of Cumbernauld town centre will look differently as a grid of streets, squares, spaces, connected paths and cycleways are developed. New town centre residential housing, car parking and greenspaces are also likely to contribute to the rejuvenation.
The next key step for The Place The Vision programme is the production of detailed Action Plans for all towns in North Lanarkshire later this year. It is anticipated that Cumbernauld town centre’s development will take place across three separate phases between 2022 and 2029.
Crucially, North Lanarkshire Council has announced that the project remains on course despite the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The regeneration plans also include A Vision for Kilsyth, detailing a focus on shaping Kilsyth as a destination town with regional and tourist appeal.
The most northerly town in Lanarkshire is set to benefit from a revitalised town centre, promotion of its rural and heritage sites, a new northern gateway and a modern Town Hub replacing the old Kilsyth Academy campus.
It has also been revealed that residents of Greater Cumbernauld are to be consulted in relation to the proposed construction of a new direct road that aims to improve transport links between Cumbernauld, the new campus of University Hospital Monklands and the M8 motorway.
It is planned that East Airdrie Link Road will create a new single carriageway link with pedestrian and cycle ways from north of the M8 (A723 / Newhouse Interchange) to the A73, north of Stand. This is part of a £190 million programme to improve the current road network from the M74 to the M80.
Cornerstone House Centre will post latest information updates regarding the plans to redevelop Cumbernauld and Kilsyth town centres via its website and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) over the coming period.