Victory for sports hall, failure for local democracy

Jo has welcomed a temporary reprieve for the sports hall in Bishopbriggs but expressed disappointment at the lack of calls for a public hearing.

At a meeting yesterday, East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board accepted an outline planning application submitted by Muse Developments for the redevelopment of Bishopbriggs town centre. While the outline application proposes to demolish the sports hall on the former Bishopbriggs Academy site, this may change as more detailed plans are created. Provost Eric Gotts put forward a condition, which was accepted by the board, to prevent Muse demolishing the hall before those detailed plans have been approved by the planning board.

As the owners of the land on which the hall stands, Muse could have demolished the hall as soon as the application was accepted, however thanks to the Provost’s motion this will not happen. The developers must now come up with a plan demonstrating how the community will gain from their proposed use of buildings in the area. In the meantime, a steering committee run by Ruth Box will shortly publish its business plan for running the sports hall as a community facility – a plan which Muse have promised to consider.

Despite recent calls by Jo for Councillors representing Bishopbriggs to request a public hearing on the application, none of them did so at yesterday’s meeting.

Commenting, Jo said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the sports hall has been granted a temporary reprieve, and I am sure this will come as a great relief to the many people in Bishopbriggs who oppose its demolition. Ruth Box and her fellow volunteers have put a lot of hard work into their business plan for the sports hall and I look forward to seeing it when it is published very soon. I hope the extra time afforded by the Provost’s condition will give Muse the opportunity to give the business plan the serious consideration it deserves.

“There are still many more aspects of the application which need to be looked at, and I am disappointed that Bishopbriggs Councillors didn’t see the need to let local people have their say at a public hearing, on what is a huge change to the centre of Bishopbriggs. I was also surprised that none of the Councillors for Bishopbriggs moved to defend the sports hall and it was left to my colleague Eric Gotts to put forward the condition.”

The text of Provost Gotts’ condition is as follows:

That the sports hall building should be retained until the applicant has clearly identified through a detailed planning consent the community uses and the buildings they require, to ensure the full potential of community uses is realised on this site.

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