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Planning milestone for Owen town plan

It aims to emulate the ideals of industrialist and philanthropist Robert Owen and will be built in the valleys where he created his New Lanark model of an industrial village 200 years ago.

PRIDE: The Owenstown  planning vision, main picture, reformer Robert Owen, above, and his house in New Lanark, bottom left.
PRIDE: The Owenstown planning vision, main picture, reformer Robert Owen, above, and his house in New Lanark, bottom left.

Now a major milestone in the building of Owenstown has been reached, with local authority planners in possession of the application which aims to transform living once again in this part of South Lanarkshire.

The new community will cover 2000 acres in the Douglas Valley near Rigside, as close as possible to the spot where Owen embedded the roots of the co-operative movement that grew around his family's cotton mill. It was here workers were provided with homes, schools and evening classes, free healthcare and affordable food.

It aims to be a new self-sustaining community of 3200 homes, which will be managed by a co-operative.

A housebuilding factory, shops, cafes, restaurants, hotel, leisure facilities, care home, public parks, two new primary schools and one new secondary school feature in the plans, which are underpinned by the aims of sustainability, economic growth, employment and entrepreneurship.

The Hometown Foundation, a registered charity which has been established to help build new self-sustainable communities and regenerate rundown areas, is behind the project.

A spokesman for the development said that 8000 people will live in Owenstown in 10 years' time, with 6000 jobs to be created during construction and 3000 permanent posts to be spawned by the project.

Owenstown has also been influenced by Mondragón, a town in the Basque region of Spain which is run by the world's largest workers' co-operative.

The planning application, which has been three years in the making, has been lodged with South Lanarkshire Council, with a decision due in 2013.

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