A NEW town twice the size of Lanark and bigger than Carluke could be built in the Douglas Valley, near Rigside.
Plans to build a 20,000 population 'eco-friendly' community to be called 'Owenstown' — creating 8000 new jobs in Clydesdale — were unveiled at its parent village, New Lanark.
The project is being carried out by the charitable Hometown Foundation.
Owenstown is planned to be a totally self-sufficient community with its own businesses, factories, schools and leisure facilities on a 2000 acre site at Stone Hill, just outside Rigside.
The Foundation is hailing Owenstown as a new start for the economically
beleaguered Douglas Valley.
It was inspired, as its name suggests, by the creation of New Lanark as a socially responsible industrial village by Robert Owen 200 years ago.
Indeed, the man largely credited with turning New Lanark from a ghost village in the 1970s into a United Nations-recognised World Heritage Site, Dr Jim Arnold, is the Chairman of the Trustees who will eventually run Owenstown.
Jim said: "Two hundred years ago Robert Owen set out to build his dream community, his model village for the futur
"He never quite achieved that but his dream could finally come true with the creation of Owenstown."
As to where the money is coming from to create Owenstown, other members of the Foundation explained that, if planning permission is granted for the estimated 8000 new homes, the value of the land the Foundation has acquired will inevitably rocket.
Monies from housing developers — including those who buy one of the 1000 individual plots to be made available — will be ploughed back into developing other parts of Owenstown.
Assurances have been given that the wide mix of homes, be they private or rented, will be "affordable".
As to how the 8000 new jobs will be created, Jim and his fellow Trustees explained that, initially, these will be self-generated by a factory to be built to prefabricate much of the new homes.
It is hoped, in time, that other industries and businesses will be attracted to Owenstown.
There will now be a lengthy public consultation before planning permission is sought from South Lanarkshire Council in around a year's time.
Source: Carluke Gazette