THERE were growing fears this week over a masterplan for Bishopbriggs town centre.
Muse Developments has been leading plans to transform the area for the past three years – including proposals to build a new supermarket, new houses, a care home and offices.
But in a shock announcement last week it was revealed that Muse has now sold the former Bishopbriggs Academy site to
supermarket chain Morrisons and is no longer leading the plans.
Muse was given outline planning permission for the project last year.
It is not known what will happen to the other plans for the town centre, but it's understood proposals for a community hub should still go ahead.
Dominic Notarangelo – chairman of the community champions group, set up to liaise with Muse on the plans – said: "I think the whole community will be surprised by the decision.
"While Muse have been having meetings with the community champions they were aware that they were not going to develop the site and that they were going to sell it to Morrisons. Muse have taken the decision to sell the whole site and go."
East Dunbartonshire Council would not reveal how much the school site was sold to Muse for.
A spokesperson said: "Through the Section 75 agreement, the council has ensured that any future design for the Bishopbriggs masterplan will be consulted upon by the local community."
A spokesperson for Morrisons said a bigger supermarket will be built on the land, but it is still in the early stages. Its current store, which is leased, will then close.
Steve Turner, regional director Scotland for Muse Developments, said: "Morrisons has demonstrated a clear understanding of the requirements of this project.
"They are keen to continue engaging with residents, the community council and community groups, as we have done previously, in order to deliver the town centre extension in an appropriate manner.
"We have worked hard with each of the stakeholders involved to ensure every element is in place, including securing an agreement for the delivery of a community hub, so that this development can be handed over smoothly and efficiently."
But MP Jo Swinson said: "It is truly shocking that East Dunbartonshire Council did not make public that such significant news about the Bishopbriggs town centre development was due to be discussed.
"The critical nature of this decision for the future of Bishopbriggs town centre and the Bishopbriggs community cannot be overstated.
"However, this is true to form from Muse, who have failed to engage properly with the local community from day one. I am meeting Muse in the New Year and will be seeking an explanation, but we now need answers from Morrisons.
"I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Morrisons to press the importance of the public's voice being included as new plans are drawn up – it is vital that the work done by the community champions is not abandoned."
What's your view? E-mail the Herald by clicking here