THE battle over an Auldhouse road continues to rumble on after South Lanarkshire Council decided against handing it over to a local businessman.
Peter Thompson, who owns Meadowhead Farm and riding school, approached the council 10 years ago to ask that Meadowhead Highway – an access road for his property and seven other properties – be made a private road, giving him and the other property owners responsibility for it.
He made the request because of the road’s poor condition and lack of maintenance, but the council turned him down.
Since then, he has been involved in a long-running battle with the council over his plans to infill part of his land to make it suitable for the development of an equestrian centre.
Latterly the council had looked likely to reverse their previous decision. They spent £80,000 re-laying the pot-hole-riddled Meadowhead Highway to allow for public access and indicated they would remove the road from the List of Public roads, essentially handing ownership of the road to Mr Thompson.
However, they have now decided this is not a feasible option after they received three objections as part of their consultation process.
Peter Thompson was recently fined £10,000 for illegally dumping rubble on his infill site near to Meadowhead Farm.
Mr Thompson and his son were granted permission in 2000 to develop their riding school into an international standard equestrian centre.
But in the years since, residents in Auldhouse have complained that tipper trucks going to the infill site at Meadowhead are destroying the roads in the area and said planning permission for the equestrian centre and infill should never have been granted by South Lanarkshire Council.
One man said: “My wife and I have counted on average about 120 tipper trucks a day going to Meadowhead in the last few weeks. It is absolutely ridiculous that the council have spent all this money on repairing the road only for it to be destroyed yet again by these tipper trucks.
“Residents in the area have been battling for years to get this road fixed and now we have 120 heavy vehicles using it a day. When these tipper trucks go by, your whole property starts to shake. It’s a nightmare and we are sick of it.”
Mr Thompson said: “I approached the council and said if they weren’t going to maintain Meadowhead Highway to an acceptable standard then we would take it on. I am happy enough that the council have decided to maintain ownership of the road but it is ridiculous that it has taken them 10 years to fix it.
“And in my mind the repairs are certainly not to an acceptable standard – it’s a half-done job. If they have spent £80,000, it certainly doesn’t look like it and it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“As far as the complaints about the volume of tipper trucks are concerned, all those who are complaining have bought properties since I was given planning permission for the equestrian centre.
“Once we get the ground level, that will be it for the tipper trucks but there is going to be traffic on these roads no matter what. The wind farm at Whitelee generates about 10 times the volume of traffic I do but I don’t hear people complaining about that.
“Although I don’t like what is happening just now, my end plan is to make this the best place for horse riding in the west coast.
“That’s what I set out to do when I bought Meadowhead and I won’t be stopping until it’s done.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The council originally intended to stop up Meadowhead Highway. However, there were concerns regarding the removal of the public right of access over this road.
“Subsequently, we proposed to delete part of Meadowhead Highway from the List of Public Roads. Essentially, this was simply a different statutory procedure to ensure a public right of access could be maintained.
“However, following the statutory consultation period for the proposed Deletion Notice, three objections to the proposal were received. On this basis, the council felt it was not feasible to proceed.
“Around £80,000 of repair works have recently been carried out on Meadowhead Highway to bring the road up to a satisfactory standard. It remains an adopted road, which the council are responsible for maintaining, and we will continue to monitor it for defects and carry out repairs as necessary to ensure public safety.”