1978 Body blow for Redevelopment

1978 Blantyre Glasgow Road wmIn the last week of March 1978, plans for the multi million pound redevelopment of Glasgow Road suffered a major setback, when rather than just a few individuals with complaint, a local business also made complaint, setting up a course of events which would cause huge delays.

The Co-operative Society, on the basis they had been involved in shopping in Blantyre for nearly 100 years, submitted an objection on the basis that their representation would all be but removed if ASDA arrived. The objection was taken seriously and was escalated immediately to the Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Bruce Millan who called for an enquiry.

That month residents in Blantyre, already frustrated by a lack of jobs, lack of shops (already closed) and sick of seeing the eyesore of boarded up tenements, were told there would be further delays, perhaps lengthy whilst the complaint was investigated.

Progress had been made in getting individuals deals allowing them to drop complaint, but the Co-op refused to back down. Local Councillor Dr Maurice Miller in conjunction with Blantyre Labour Party even tried to influence their Co-op sponsored Labour MPs in Westminster to get the Co-op to back down at the last minute!

On Monday 20th March 1978, Dr Miller was in Westminster and speaking from there said, “This is a disappointment. I am sure there will only be a short delay and this matter will be sorted quickly.”

Basis of Objection

It was alleged by the Co-op that Hamilton District Council had not given them enough opportunity to be involved in the arrival of a new supermarket and they were also taking great offence to having had their Co-op shop taken over by compulsory purchase order, in what was previously considered to have been in a prime retail location.

Two other objectors were also sticking to their principals. Blantyre Post Office was determined to remain in their location facing on to Glasgow Road, despite the nearby development, something ultimately that they won. Oreste’s Chicken Bar was also determined to put up a fight. A Scottish Office spokesman though said they would not tolerate a couple of remaining businesses, regardless of who they were holding up Blantyre’s redevelopment any further and issued a contingency plan to try to overturn the objections.

I’m finding this whole subject fascinating, especially as I’ve got to grips with the many businesses in Glasgow Road these last couple of years. I may write a small booklet about the Redevelopment of Glasgow Road, so if anybody has any stories about that time, please feel free to comment.

Pictured in march 1978 are boarded up Glasgow Road shops, Blantyre.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

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