- The developers plans were revealed in the Antonine Centre.
- We started fundraising.
Plus we met with the local MP, received our first donation and met with lots of our Facebook supporters face to face for the first time.
So let me fill in some more info –
1. Developers – We’ve requested an electronic copy of the plans that we can share online with everyone. There are some obvious issues with the plans especially around the outside of the house. Inside they are being fair light in their touch which is really good news but outside we’re going to have some issues such as –
- Moving the gate to the park. This gate has been there for over 60 years now and is the traditional entrance into the park whilst it’s not designated a public right of way I’d believe we’d have no trouble having it designated as such. That’s not the main problem though. The new entrance is being proposed for further along the roadway towards the Wilderness Brae, however the gradient into the park at this point is much steeper and would make for a more difficult entrance into the park for disable people. The Friends of Cumbernauld Park have already objected to this option so I’d say there would be fairly widespread opposition to this idea.
- Moving the sundial. Whilst moving the Sundial is not a bad thing in itself (where it is today is not the traditional site of the sundial) moving it to a new rose garden (the garden we do applaud) at the front then shutting that off with a fence would be unacceptable. The public has a right to access the grade B listed monument and not just when the new residents feel like letting them.
- Car parking – Whilst the plan has space for car parking built into it the site of these car parks has already been discussed by this group and found to be unacceptable. They are proposing putting the parking at the back of the building down towards the allotments. This is a dark tree lined area which some of our members have already stated would be too dangerous a place for mothers with children etc.
- Public access – There are no plans for public access to the house other than a once a year option for open doors day. The architects are saying that there are no plans to change the fences around the site but would the new residents be of the same opinion? Whilst there is no law of trespass in Scotland are we going to start a public/owner battle?
- Factoring – Upkeep of the house and grounds is apparently being taken care of with factors fees to the new residents. A house of this size with substantial grounds would be a considerable cost and this would surely be a major problem for new owners? How could we guarantee that owners would keep up the hundreds of pounds needed each month in order to do this? Now some would argue that the owners could be forced to do this by the courts but do we really want to do that? Do we really want to have to monitor the owners and then have to take them to court? If this is an issue we can already see can we do anything about it?
2. Fundraising – We started our fundraising for the trust yesterday and had our first doantion (thanks Pat!). We are raising funds for the trust which would look to bring the house back into public ownership but we’re also committed to the community of Cumbernauld. Our objects can be viewed at our website – www.cumbernauldhousetrust.org.uk. So even if we do not succeed in our bid to return the house to public use the charity still has a purpose which is to restore the community feel to Cumbernauld and to help the community. Fundraising and financing the project comes really from three methods right now – Local and central government, corporate donations and the general public. The important thing is that corporate and government will not give us major funding if we can’t show we have the backing of the public with donations so please do give even if it’s a small amount.
3. MP visit – So we spent a good 2 hours yesterday with Gregg McClymont discussing how we could further the cause at Westminster. David Cameron’s Big Society scheme is focussed exactly on our type of scheme so we are hoping for big things. Gregg is going to investigate for us if there is any future in this and if the Big Society work covers Scotland.
Finally we’d say that the architect work has been surprisingly sensitive and that on speaking to the lead architect last night he stated that the public feeling around this was obvious from day one and that he knew it was a ‘hot potato’ and built his plans with this in mind. The developer was not aware of the new public interest in the building when he purchased and so our work has really helped to get a much more sensitive outlook for the plans which is excellent and I think that each of the 2800 of us on this page should give themselves a pat on the back that we’ve made a difference but it’s not over. Cumbernauld House has potential to breath life back into our community – it can create jobs, education facilities, training, a place to relax, a place to find out about the history of the town, a place for children to play and learn, a place for charities to share resources and so much more and that’s our vision, that’s our business plan so let’s not lose focus on that as we move forward.
and Thanks! As we enter this new phase we need your help more than ever.