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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Ravenscraig protests thrown out
Ravenscraig site
Ravenscraig was closed in 1992 and the site was cleared
An attempt by developers to block a 1bn plan for a new town on the site of the Ravenscraig steelworks has been thrown out by the House of Lords.

Developers with interests in nearby towns argued the regeneration plans flew in the face of government policy to protect existing shopping centres.

Five Law Lords had been told that plans would undermine existing town centres in Motherwell and Wishaw, Lanarkshire.

But they rejected the appeal against a new state-of-the-art shopping centre.

Lawyers from Land Securities Group said the aim of government policy was to protect existing town centres.

Ravenscraig is open for business again and no-one can halt our progress
Frank Roy
MP for Motherwell and Wishaw

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, who gave the ruling, said the retail element in Ravenscraig did not stand alone but was part of a scheme for the creation of a new town centre.

He said the Scottish Ministers who approved the plan were not ignoring the policy, which he said could not sensibly be applied to the development.

"The whole point is that the town centre is to be at Ravenscraig. It cannot be airlifted and dropped into an existing town centre," he said.

But he added: "If it goes ahead, the town centre development will greatly affect the town centres of Motherwell and Wishaw."

'Landmark' moment

The shopping centre is part of the development of Ravenscraig that includes 3,500 new homes, relocation of Motherwell College and a multi-million pound regional sports facility.

Frank Roy, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, said: "This is a massive decision, thousands will once again be employed at Ravenscraig.

"Ravenscraig is open for business again and no-one can halt our progress."

Ravenscraig website
Work on building a new future is expected to start in coming weeks

The ruling was hailed as a "landmark" moment by developers behind the plans.

Jim Fitzsimons, director of Ravenscraig Ltd and development director at Wilson Bowden Developments, said construction work on the site could now start within weeks.

"This landmark decision by the House of Lords is tremendous news for the project and allows us to forge ahead in our plans to create an exciting new future for Ravenscraig," he said.

The Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership, an alliance of Land Securities Group and British Land Company, which were fighting the "town centre" designation, said it was disappointed in the Lords' decision and was now examining its legal options.

Spokesman David Smith said: "We strongly believe that an alteration to the structure plan in this case was an abuse of the planning system and sets a dangerous precedent."

Ravenscraig Steel Works closed in 1992.

Residents react to steel works site development

20m plan for former steelworks
04 May 06 |  Glasgow and West
Ravenscraig objection thrown out
30 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Steelworks plan approved
10 Apr 03 |  Scotland

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