The plans to develop the new community-owned co-operative town of Owenstown have been backed by independent reports into the shopping and employment opportunities it will bring to the area.
Edinburgh consultants Muir Smith Evans say the planned overall scale and type of retail floorspace is appropriate to the size of the development and the investment involved.
Other key points they make are:
- The population of Owenstown will sustain the planned number and range of shops.
- Owenstown is large enough and sufficiently stand-alone to provide its own shopping needs.
- The scale and mix of foodstores in comparable towns is mainly local and there will be no effect by the shops in Owenstown on other local shopping centres in the wider area.
- There will be no displacement or diversion of local trade from other existing local centres.
- More than 500 jobs will be created in retail businesses & services which will be entirely supported by the spending of the community.
- There will be no displacement of jobs at a local level and minimal effect on South Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole.
The findings came from detailed research by commercial consultants Ryden and Optimal Economics.
Owenstown will be created a 2,000 acre site near Rigside, only a few miles from where social reformer Robert Owen first put his ideas into practice at New Lanark 200 years ago.
It will be owned and managed by a co-operative of its citizens and all surplus funds generated will be reinvested in the community instead of being taken out by property developers or landowners. It will have more than 3,000 affordable homes for sale or rent along with office and commercial space, cafes, restaurants and shops, land and buildings for industry, including a modular house factory, a hotel, leisure facilities, a care home, community buildings and public parks as well as two new primary schools and one new secondary school.
The development of Owenstown, a project of the charitable Hometown Foundation, will provide a major opportunity to deliver important social and community benefits without the need for public funding. The planning application is currently with South Lanarkshire and could be granted by the Autumn. However, Scottish Ministers are also interested because of the national significance of the project.
More information about the Hometown Foundation is at www.hometown.co.uk
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