Plans for community-owned town put forward

Plans for a new community owned town in central Scotland have been presented to South Lanarkshire Council for consideration.

This news comes at a time when Britain is experiencing a severe housing shortage. The number of houses being built in the UK is rising. In 2011 some 114,160 were built, compared to 106,720 in 2010 – an increase of seven per cent, according to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government. However, some 300,000 homes need to be built every year in order to keep up with demand.

Commenting on this housing shortage, Legal and General Mortgage Club managing director Ben Thompson told “If we carry on as we are with no change, it will feel okay for a while, but years down the line the fallout from inaction will become clear, in the form of social and financial problems. Change is needed, boldness is paramount, we need this, and need it now.”

The plans that have been proposed by community charity the Hometown Foundation are certainly bold and would see around 3,000 homes (housing 8,000 people) constructed near the existing village of Rigside, central Scotland.

The development has been called Owenstown, after the locally-based social reformer Robert Owen.

What the charity has proposed is a community-owned town that would be owned and run by the Owenstown Co-Operative Society on behalf of the residents.

Along with houses, the town would also feature offices and commercial floor space, industrial premises, shops, restaurants, leisure and community facilities and three schools. Any income generated in Owenstown would be ploughed back into the town’s community services.

Commenting on the development, a statement issued by the charity said: “This part of South Lanarkshire lies in a depopulated and deprived rural area that would benefit from significant new investment and employment opportunities.

“This is a huge opportunity for South Lanarkshire and Scotland to deliver something very different with significant economic, employment, social and community benefits.”

Recycled waste would apparently be used to power a district heating system and will have a ‘green transport’ operating throughout the site.

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