As we begin the third decade of the 21st century, many people are taking a moment to reflect on the last ten years. It’s been a period of huge political, cultural and technological change, and Uddingston has also changed in many respects since 2010 dawned.
For anyone unfamiliar with our thriving Lanarkshire town, we thought it was a fitting moment to consider some of the changes in Uddingston over the last ten years…
The measure of a town can be drawn from its housing stock, and the last decade has seen significant changes in Uddingston’s residential character. The town’s boundaries haven’t expanded (due to a combination of physical barriers and greenbelt restrictions), but several former industrial sites have been repurposed as residential developments. As an example, huge factories on either side of Bellshill Road were replaced with award-winning housing estates in the middle of the decade. The former Caterpillar factory in Tannochside is currently being reborn as 140 family homes, and derelict land around the corner on Woodhead Crescent has welcomed stylish townhouses and detached villas.
More traditional developments include the old Uddingston Grammar School complex, which was repurposed as a mixture of apartments and quirky new-build houses back in 2014. Nor is new housing in Uddingston entirely a private-sector phenomenon, with sought-after social housing developments being constructed along Wilkie Road and Old Mill Road. South Lanarkshire Council recently lodged plans to construct two dozen cottage flats on the last remaining parcel of land beside a recently completed private housing development in the heart of Uddingston Village.
Retail changes in Uddingston were led by 2016’s unveiling of a retail park opposite Bothwell Castle Golf Club. Flanked on two sides by new-build villas and luxury apartments, this M&S-anchored development is a hive of activity for twelve hours a day.
Unlike many towns, the presence of a retail park hasn’t detracted from the unusually strong occupancy rates of Uddingston Main Street, where high footfall ensures empty units are rapidly rented and repurposed. In many respects, Main Street reflects Uddingston’s affluence, with designer clothing stores and boutique shops alongside pet grooming salons and high-end restaurants. You’ll also find the Tunnocks Café here, with fresh produce delivered daily from the world-famous bakery a few hundred yards away.
The disruptive nature of technology throughout the last decade has given residents of Uddingston more opportunities to communicate and engage than ever before. The photo below shows a brass band performing as part of the annual Christmas Fayre at the start of every December, when local people gather in chilly conditions to socialise and support local businesses and charities.
Social media channels have fostered unusually strong levels of community engagement. One recently constructed estate in Uddingston has a WhatsApp group where almost every resident is an active participant, and this has enabled the estate to organise everything from coordinated Easter egg hunts and Hallowe’en events through to Christmas parties and summer barbecues. Uddingston has a strong presence on social media, from the Uddingston Pride Facebook page to our very own Living in Uddingston Instagram account. It’s perhaps unsurprising that Uddingston has won dozens of community awards in the last decade, from organisations like Beautiful Scotland and Britain in Bloom.
With no brownfield sites listed in the most recent South Lanarkshire Local Plan, it’s doubtful that the population of Uddingston Village will increase in the coming years. Instead, attention is focused on the northern side of the M74 motorway and West Coast Mainline, where North Lanarkshire Council has a number of gap sites and undeveloped plots suitable for residential developments. We might see additional warehouse-style commercial units constructed at Birkenshaw Trading Estate, and ambitious proposals have recently been lodged to almost double available parking at Uddingston train station by making better use of the existing site’s sloping boundaries.
Even so, with a near-100 per cent retail occupancy and a fully refurbished portfolio of primary and secondary schools, there are likely to be few significant changes in Uddingston in the coming years. And after a difficult and often conflict-fuelled decade, most local residents will be very glad of a few years of peace and quiet…