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Homestead Foundation submit Owenstown plans

November 29 2012

Homestead Foundation submit Owenstown plans
Plans to build a huge New Town in South Lanarkshire have been submitted by the Hometown Foundation, a charity which has devised a 10 year masterplan

Owenstown has been masterplanned by Optimised Environments and envisages the construction of some 3,200 homes in the Douglas Valley, near Lanark, on a 2,000 acre plot adjacent to the village of Rigside.

Named after Robert Owen, driving force behind New Lanark, the plans were first hatched some three years ago but have only now been submitted following an extended consultation period.

The Hometown Foundation claims that their scheme will engender a co-operative community with waste recycled on site and a district heating system.

Detractors point out however that the scheme fails to support (and indeed may adversely impact upon) existing settlements, with some planners describing Owenstown as a ‘second rate development opportunity wrapped up in marketing speak .”


#1 Posted by Sven on 30 Nov 2012 at 12:27 PM
Owenstown is very English sounding, can they not use an Scottish name? At least call it Owenstoun or ton to fit in.

It also looks like a high density development. Do we need high density housing in Scotland - 90% of the population is concentrated in less than 7% of the land. Is there demand for a town of flats, semi-detached and townhouses? People do not really care about carbon neutral and onsite waste recycling. District heating is very soviet.
#2 Posted by wonky on 30 Nov 2012 at 15:55 PM
There's a lot that doesn't make sense about this development: the choice of location seems very strange- why so remote? It's so remote- and in a location with high unemployment- that people will have to drive to their work in Glasgow or Edinburgh, thereby adding more car use and the concomitant problem of pollution to the area.
Rigside, Coalburn, lesmahagow, Blackwood, or Douglas all have problems with endemic unemployment, anti-social behaviour and significant enclaves of deprivation...will Owenstown be an exclusive Shangri La for bruschetta, frittata and chorizo eating home-owning baby boomers?
How will they cope when bucky swilling youths from Rigside come into their streets singing the Sash? I suspect they will choke on their crab and corn cakes whilst immediately abandoning their Owenesque inspired Socialist notions of equality...why not try and support the existing settlements in the area rather than constructing a new one?


We already have fantastic towns in Scotland that need support such as Hawick, Kelso, Haddington, Montrose, Kirkcudbright Arbroath, Crieff, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Oban, Rothesay, Nairn...these and other fantastic wee towns could do with support and patronage rather than another white elephant.
#3 Posted by ABI on 2 Dec 2012 at 18:44 PM
I think this development should not be allowed by the central government. It is totally ridiculous, because of different reasons. Why you should make a dense development like this in the middle of nowhere, when around the inner city of Glasgow for example many urban voids are represented for at least many hundred thousands inhabitants. In contrast to Owenstown, these spaces will be close to all kind of amenities and offices and create a much lower dependency of cars. Furthermore, focusing on the city could create major opportunities for the city as a whole and many disadvantaged areas in Glasgow. Subsequently, filling urban voids could lead to better connections between suburbs and the inner city of Glasgow. More or less is also possible on a smaller scale levels at Edinburgh and many other existing cities and villages in Scotland. We should make these better instead of focusing on a complete new development. Owenstown can totally not be considered as green, if people will become more than ever dependent of cars. Furthermore they will waste hours in a week while travelling to work, with less time for family, children or community live. Maybe they try to plan it in an open landscape, because they cannot deal the difficulties of an urban environment. In my eyes a very weak and dated spatial approach.
walt disney
#4 Posted by walt disney on 3 Dec 2012 at 13:01 PM
@Wonky - well observed commentary. I grew up in Douglas and had to negotiate the gauntlet of Rigside on my way to school every day. What a delightful place. I do believe that one time it had a higher murder rate per capita than New York.

The whole idea seems to be completely bonkers and yet again someone is looking to revitalise an area solely through urban design! There's nothing there! It is a complete post industrial / apocalyptic wasteland. Even the SDA had the good sense not to touch Rigside in the 1960s.The nearest employment that doesn't involve sheep farming or re-setting stolen goods is over 20 miles away. Am I missing something here? Is there a "Field of Dreams - If you build it, they will come" mentality?

Additionally, why do the designers not pick up on local vernacular? Where is the grey / brown dry dashed 4-in-a-block housing? Additionally none of the houses are steel! Bonkers!

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