Latest News

February 2015

The selection of 1 & 2 bedroom apartments, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes are now scheduled to launch in early 2015

January 2014
East Dunbartonshire's Planning Board granted house builder Cala permission to build on the former bus garage site at Burnbrae. Cala plans to build 135 new homes - 89 apartments, 15 terraced houses, four semi-detached and 27 detached homes. Construction will start in the spring with the first residents moving in to their homes by Christmas 2014. 

Please click here for the planning layout and the final report.

The full list of planning application documents can be found here.

October 2013
Local residents had their first chance to see Cala’s plans for part of the Lower Kilmardinny housing development at a public exhibition in October.  The exhibit featured plans for the former bus garage site where Cala wants to build 135 new homes.

Cala expect a planning decision to be made by the Council by the end of this year and if successful will begin building in spring 2014, with the first residents moving in around Christmas 2014.

The proposals to build in the area have been controversial, with the Council rejecting the plans for more than 500 houses on the Kilmardinny site.  However the Scottish Government overturned the Council’s decision on appeal.

http://www.milngavieherald.co.uk/news/local-headlines/builders-reveal-their-vision-for-bus-depot-site-1-3143901

June 2012
In late May (2012) I attended the CALA Homes public exhibition at the Allander Leisure Centre. The exhibition displayed only a small proposed change to the masterplan to accommodate a new Allander being built on its current car park rather than the old bus garage site. It is expected that more detailed plans for the Kilmardinny development will be published in August. See further comments here.

November 2011
CALA puts Allander Leisure Centre Consultation Out 

Commenting on the Community Consultation on the Future Location of the Allander Leisure Centre document that has been circulated amongst Milngavie and Bearsden residents, Councillor Ashay Ghai said:

“CALA’s motives for undertaking this survey are unclear: it’s not for a housing developer to take the lead on deciding the future of local sports facilities. If the housing developers are genuine about consulting with local people, it’s surprising that they have done so without first seeking the input of locally elected representatives who have been campaigning on this issue for years.”

Commenting further, Jo said:

“There remain a number of unanswered questions about how much the different options would cost and where the money would come from, and I certainly intend to go along to one of the public exhibition sessions next week to get more information from CALA. We all want to see the best for the future of the Allander site, but given CALA’s track record on the Kilmardinny application to build a vast number of new homes, there is understandably some scepticism that CALA have the community’s best interests at heart.”

You can see copies of the consultation leaflet here:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

August 2010
Council to pay CALA’s legal costs 

After ruling that the Kilmardinny development should go ahead, the Scottish Government Reporter Janet McNair has now decided that East Dunbartonshire Council should have to pay some of CALA’s costs because it acted ‘unreasonably’ during the local inquiry.

You can read my reaction here:

04/08/10 Now Council must pay CALA’s legal costs

12/08/10 Kilmardinny development cash fury (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)


Scottish Reporter gives development the go ahead

The Scottish Government Reporter Janet McNair has decided to allow the appeal by developers CALA and Stewart Milne and let the Kilmardinny development go ahead. What’s more, she will not require them to ensure that the Allander Leisure Centre is kept open until its replacement is up and running, which was the Council’s key demand. Read my comments here:

22/06/10 Local people “gutted” over Kilmardinny decision

25/06/10 Anger after Government backs Kilmardinny development (MIlngavie and Bearsden Herald)

The Reporter imposed her decision after the legal negotiations between the Council and the developers broke down without agreement. It seems the developers were not willing to enter any agreement without sole discretion over access arrangements to the Allander Sports Centre, a condition that was not previously suggested. The Council had committed to keeping the centre open until a replacement is open and so could not sign up to a legal agreement with the developers controlling site access and therefore offering no reassurance that it would remain open.

I wrote to the Reporter some months ago urging her to bear in mind that continued provision of sports facilities was of huge importance to local people.

You can read my letter to the Reporter here:

06/04/10 Reporter to take Kilmardinny decision after all


First Minister Snubs East Dunbartonshire

The Scottish Government did not have to allow the Reporter to decide the appeal – they could have made the decision themselves, as elected representatives. See the following link for more information:

16/02/10 Scottish Government could have stopped Kilmardinny development

I recently wrote to Alex Salmond to ask why his Ministers did not use their power to take the decision on the Kilmardinny appeal themselves, rather than delegating it to a Reporter. You can read my letter here:

11/03/10 Jo Swinson questions First Minister over Kilmardinny decision

You can also read my reaction to his response here:

23/03/10 Alex Salmond’s Kilmardinny response ‘slap in the face’ to community

I believe it is not right that the Scottish Government Reporter, who is an unelected official, should have so much power to override the decisions of our elected Councillors. That is why, after the Reporter issued her Notice of Intention in April 2009, I wrote a letter to Alex Salmond, calling on him to review the planning appeals system in light of this. I sent with the letter a stack of pages from the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, including articles and printed letters from local people opposing the development, to demonstrate to him how strongly local people feel about this matter. It is not right that the Reporter should be able to go against the will of so many local people in this way.

Read my letter to Alex Salmond in the following release:

03/08/09 Swinson slams “undemocratic” system over Kilmardinny decision

For more information see the following news stories:

24/07/09 MP Jo Swinson urges Alex Salmond to axe reporter’s powers (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)


Jo raises the issue in Parliament

I recently raised the issue of the Kilmardinny development in Parliament. You can read more about the issue below:


Q&A

CALA Management and Stewart Milne Holdings Ltd first submitted an application to redevelop the area of land between Milngavie and Bearsden to East Dunbartonshire Council in November 2004. Their application was refused in November 2007, and the developers consequently submitted their appeal a month later. Following a Local Inquiry by Scottish Government Reporter Janet McNair in August – December 2008, an Appeal Notice of Intention was issued in April 2009, in which the Reporter stated that she was “minded to allow” the appeal, provided a list of 20 proposed conditions are met by CALA and Stewart Milne Holdings.

The proposed development occupies the space between the A81(Milngavie Road) and the railway all the way from Hillfoot to Auchenhowie Road in Milngavie, taking in the present West of Scotland Football club grounds.

What was included in the original planning application?

According to the original proposals, the land would be developed for varying uses, including a rail halt beside the Allander Sports Centre, a park and ride associated with the halt (or alternatively for bus park and ride – both uses would develop the area including the former Burnbrae Bus Garage), retention and potential reconfiguration of the West of Scotland Football Club grounds, retail warehouses on or adjacent to Homebase/Halley’s Garage, 550 houses, a footpath, cycleway and road access improvements, and reinstatement of a landscaped green wedge between Milngavie and Bearsden along each side of the Craigdhu Burn. Flood protection mechanisms put in place around the Craigdu and Manse burns in an attempt to encourage greater biodiversity.

Why did the planning board reject the application?

In October 2007, East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board rejected the developers’ planning application after councillors voted 15-5 against the proposals. It was rejected because the proposals did not accord with the Local Plan – the Council’s long term plan for the development of East Dunbartonshire.

The original Local Plan requires that the Kilmardinny site be developed according to a “Masterplan”, which would “describe and map an overall development concept, including present and future land use, urban design and landscaping, built form, infrastructure, circulation and service provision. It is based upon an understanding of place and it is intended to provide a structured approach to creating a clear and consistent framework for development” (www.kwag.info).

Liberal Democrat and SNP councillors were unanimously against the proposal, while the Tory and Labour groups were split.

For more information on how councillors voted, see the following news story:

Kilmardinny development refused (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Why didn’t the application fit with the Local Plan?

The original Local Plan sanctioned limited release of greenbelt land at Kilmardinny, in order to best balance the social benefits from development with potential damage to the environment. The proposed development would require much more greenbelt land and was considered to be potentially detrimental to the Kilmardinny environment.

What happened after the developers appealed?

When CALA Management and Stewart Milne Holdings appealed against the planning board’s decision, the case was assigned to the Scottish Government Reporter Janet McNair, who launched a public inquiry.

On 6th April 2009, the Reporter issued a ‘Notice of Intention’ indicating that she was “minded to allow” the application, subject to 20 conditions.

What did the Reporter’s Notice of Intention say?

The Notice states that the Reporter is ‘minded to allow’ the development to go ahead according to the following conditions, should the council and the developers fail to come to a legal agreement by 2nd October 2009:

  • At least a 10% proportion of the 550 homes built on the site should be “affordable”.
  • A park-and-ride facility providing space 150 cars, together with disabled car parking provision
  • The ‘phasing’ of development, designed to minimise the period between the closure of the existing Allander Sports Centre and the opening of the replacement centre

To mitigate the traffic impacts of the development:

  • The introduction of urban traffic control technology at the junction of Glasgow Road and Auchenhowie Road
  • The replacement of the Canniesburn Toll roundabout with traffic signal control
  • Improvements at the Milngavie Road/Boclair Road junction
  • A new roundabout at the southern access to the site and a priority junction to the south
  • The upgrading of pedestrian facilities on Glasgow Road
  • Pedestrian and cyclist crossing facilities on Milngavie Road
  • Residential car parking and traffic calming proposals within the site

Regarding the environment:

  • A ‘habitat management plan’ for the habitats to be retained on the site
  • A series of recommendations including comprehensive surveys, land drainage systems and culvert monitoring plans were also given regarding flood risks.

Crucially, the rail halt, associated park-and-ride facility and new retail space are not included in the Notice of Intention. The new conditions, if agreed to by the Council and the developers, would see the closure of the Allander Leisure Centre and £10million funding for a new Centre to be developed on adjacent land. Furthermore, the Local Plan only sanctions the release of enough greenbelt land for 330 homes, but the Reporter states she is ‘minded’ to allow the development of 550 homes.

What was the local response to the Reporter’s Notice of Intention?

Jo’s responses to the Notice of Intention:

Jo supports KWAG against Kilmardinny plans

Reactions from the local press to the Notice of Intention:

Controversial Milngavie-Bearsden housing project gets the go-ahead (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Uproar at CALA homes go-ahead for Milngavie and Bearsden (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Milngavie and Bearsden homes deal fight goes on (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Support grows for CALA plan objectors (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Council must challenge CALA homes decision (Milngavie and Bearsden herald)

More than 5000 oppose CALA Kilmardinny house build bid (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Why are people opposing the development?

The new proposals have been met with fierce opposition from the public, council representatives and community groups such as the Kilmardinny Westpark Action Group (www.kwag.info) for a number of reasons, including:

Allander Leisure

  • The developers have indicated that it would be possible to keep the existing Allander open while the new one is built. However, it would be located in the middle of a building site, and to maintain access could be disruptive to the building work and would add to overall costs, due to the associated Health and Safety risks. The associated costs and resulting increased timescale could limit the funding the developers could offer the Council when purchasing the centre.
  • Local clubs who use the facility would potentially have to be abandoned as they would have no location to train or compete.

Parking and traffic congestion

  • Concern that the 550 new households accommodating space for vehicles would provide an unsustainable amount of additional traffic congestion and environmental damage.
  • Increased traffic congestion causes concerns about access to the Accident and Emergency department at the Southern General Hospital.
  • Network Rail raised concerns about the lack of parking facilities at stations which may not cope with the additional volume of service users: without a rail halt and associated car parking facilities, there would not be enough parking to accommodate commuters.

Environment

  • The development could result in loss of green space, and the visual impact of the development as a whole could be damaging.
  • Housing would be built on a recognised floodplain and risks would be imposed from both Craigdhu and Manse burns. Compensatory storage measures would be required to combat these problems, adding to overall costs.

How did the Council come to approve the development?

The Council and the developers spent several months in negotiations after the the Reporter’s Notice of Intention was issued in April 2009. She had made clear that if the Council and the developers were unable to reach an agreement, she would make a decision on their behalf, which would like be to support the development, subject to the conditions given in the Notice of Intention.

The Reporter wrote to the Council and the developers on 4th December 2009 to say that she was disappointed that an agreement had not yet been reached between them. She noted that after several months of negotiations, the only difference between the parties was over how much money the developers should contribute toward building a new sports centre to replace Allander Leisure.

After the Council and the developers responded to say they believed they could reach a settlement soon, the Reporter granted them an extension to continue negotiations to reach that agreement. If the Council did not accept the deal that was on the table by 5th February, the Reporter said she “explore the possibility” of imposing an agreement based on the conditions she laid out in her Notice of Intention (see below).

Read all the information on the planning application here

I criticised the Reporter for applying pressure to reach a deal which was not in the community’s best interests. Read my comments here:

14/12/09 Community being bullied into bad deal on Kilmardinny

06/01/10 Government pushes for Kilmardinny decision (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

The Council met on the evening of Thursday 4th February 2010, when it was faced with choosing between accepting the deal which the Reporter and the developers want, or allowing the Reporter to impose a decision. In the event, despite previously speaking out against the unfavourable deal which was on the table, all of the Labour and Tory Councillors voted to approve the deal. You can read my reaction here:

08/02/10 Council betrayed the community over Kilmardinny

The decision caused outrage in Milngavie and Bearsden:

06/02/10 Anger at £10m land swap deal (The Herald)

07/02/10 Kilmardinny development gets go-ahead (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

11/02/10 Councillors accused of sell-out as Kilmardinny deal gets the go ahead (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

I am concerned that no notice was given to local people that this meeting was taking place – it was held completely in secret, and the Council does not appear to have followed its own rules on how meetings should be publicised. Read more about it here:

05/02/10 Secrecy of Kilmardinny meeting ‘suspect’

19/02/10 MP Jo Swinson asks if secret meeting was legal (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

I have since written to East Dunbartonshire Council to find out why the rules do not appear to have been followed. You can read that letter here:

12/02/10 Was Kilmardinny vote legitimate?

Is Allander Leisure going to be demolished?

The suggestion that Allander Leisure would be demolished has been one of the most contentious aspects of the application. I have lobbied East Dunbartonshire Council to ensure the community is not left without a sports centre: if a new centre is to be built it must be ready before the existing facilities close. As the owner of the land on which Allander Leisure is built, the Council has the power to refuse to sell the land.

For more information on my action, see the following news stories:

01/03/10 Community must be consulted on Allander replacement

16/04/09 Swinson: Allander Sports Centre must stay open until new facility is built

05/05/09 Jo presses Council on Allander issue

29/05/09 Allander reprieve welcome but more is at stake over Kilmardinny

Since then, the Council has pledged not to allow Allander Leisure to be closed until the new facility has been opened.

Councillor Simon Hutchison issued a statement in May saying: “I want to give an assurance now that there are no plans to close the Allander Leisure centre, leaving its customers with no facilities.”

Then, in October, the Council passed a motion guaranteeing that the Allander will be kept open until new facilities have been opened.

For more information on the plans for Allander Leisure, please see the following news stories:

Allander refurb cost revealed (Community Soup)

CALA plans could close famous swimming club (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Pledge made on Allander’s future (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Developers told to keep their hands off the Allander (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Will West of Scotland FC get new grounds?

Possibly. It was announced in September 2009 that the Club has received planning permission to build new facilities next to Murray Park on Auchenhowie Road.

For news articles related to this news please see below:

Move vital for West of Scotland Rugby Club (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Give us new home say West of Scotland Rugby Club (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

Auchenhowie joy for West of Scotland Rugby Club (Milngavie and Bearsden Herald)

What happens next?

I will update this page when more information is available on the next steps.

How can I make my views heard?

I will remain involved throughout the process, and will continue to make representations on behalf of constituents on this issue. To get in touch with me, please email jo@joswinson.org.uk or write to: Jo Swinson MP, 4 Springfield House, Emerson Road, Bishopbriggs, G64 1QE.

You can also add your name to the Kilmardinny Westpark petition against the development, accessible at: http://www.kwag.info/petition.html, or for further information, you can email enquiries@kwag.info .

All the paperwork and plans are public documents which you can view between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday at: East Dunbartonshire Council, Planning Development and Property Assets, The Triangle, Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow G64 2TR.

Further Information

Kilmardinny Westpark Action Group website

CALA and Stewart Milne speak out (Community Soup)