Anger over supermarket bid

30-06-2015 Picture Jamie Forbes. Kirkintilloch. TJ House for sale sign.
30-06-2015 Picture Jamie Forbes. Kirkintilloch. TJ House for sale sign.

Community councils are 
urging the Scottish Government to overturn controversial plans for a supermarket 
at the old council HQ in 
Kirkintilloch.

East Dunbartonshire Council approved the planning application to build a supermarket, petrol station and drive through restaurant despite overwhelming objections from locals.

The building has lain derelict since 2012, when the council relocated to nearby Southbank Marina in a move which the administration insisted would save around £350,000 a year.

Kirkintilloch Community Council have written a letter of objection to Scottish Ministers which has been backed up by various other community councils in the area.

Chair of Kirkintilloch Community Council, Gordon Carmichael, said: “There’s a sense of distrust between community councils and local authorities.

“I’m aware that there’s a real feeling of frustration in the community and I know it’s difficult for the local authority in terms of financial restraints but we’re trying to build trust.

“Decisions such as these do nothing to help the apathy of citizens.”

Their aim is to get the decision recalled or at least reviewed by the Scottish Government on the grounds that this development would be bad for business in Kirkintilloch town centre and does not address the need for construction of new houses on brown field sites.

They argue that any jobs created would be low paid or zero hour contracts, many of which would potentially be filled from within existing supermarkets.

Mr Carmichael told the Herald: “It’s a multi ward system and all elected representatives sit on the planning board, so they can hear people’s objections but they can’t discuss them.

“Why do they all have to sit on the planning board?

“Electoral representation has been devalued.”

He added that planning officials recommended the plans for refusal and the councillor’s decision to approve them was taken without “any real public interest.”

Thomas Glen, East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of Development and Regeneration, said: “The application has been referred to the Scottish Ministers for consideration and we await their findings.

“The Community Council have commented on the restrictions placed on elected members in advance of considering a planning application.

“If Councillors propose to take part in making a decision on a planning application they must not give grounds to doubt their impartiality.

“Accordingly, in advance of the consideration of a planning application, they cannot be seen to be prejudging the decision.”