Sir, – In response to Graham McNeil’s (Cala Homes land director) letter published October 17 regarding the recent decision by East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board to unanimously refuse Cala Homes’ application to build 135 units on East Dunbartonshire greenspace – an area rich in bio-diversity – we wish to express some of our views.
Cala Homes’ proposed development is vehemently opposed by members of the local community. The planning application was met with a record-breaking 569 letters of objection.
The area of interest for the proposed development is greenspace rich in bio-diversity that is valued by many in the local community – a community that wants to preserve greenspace for future generations.
In his letter Mr McNeil mentions “creating opportunities to deliver enhanced bio-diversity and habitat” while building apartments, houses and townhouses on the greenspace.
In fact, the proposed development threatens bio-diversity and the natural habitat for numerous species. For Cala Homes to claim that the proposed development would enhance bio-diversity is frankly incomprehensible.
The proposed development would destroy recreational space used by children and adults – for example the destruction of the blaes pitch which is frequently used for playing, exercising and dog-walking.
It should not be overlooked that much of the site of interest is not brownfield, it is actually community amenity.
We are pleased that Cala Homes noticed the high number of objections from the community. We note that it reduced their proposed number of units from 136 to 135, as well as making some tweaks to the building plans of some units.
Yet the amended proposal still did not meet the council’s own guidelines. In our view it is not surprising that the proposed development was unanimously refused.
Regarding the brownfield site of the former Cadder sewage works which consists some, but not all, of the area of interest to Cala Homes: This site was assessed by the Scottish Government reporter Iain Urquhart in 2011 who recommended in light of the environmental and amenity constraints only 50 per cent of the site area should be considered for built development with an indicative housing capacity of 35 units.
Cala Homes’ proposed development amounts to around 65 per cent over the recommendation for this part of the site.
Other issues raised by members of our local community include: Current traffic problems on Kirkintilloch Road need to be addressed – additional houses in the area would worsen existing problems; to expand Bishopbriggs Academy within its grounds would reduce space available to pupils and teaching staff; concerns that monetary gain may be prioritised over road safety and managing pressure on local amenities.
It is evident that Cala Homes’ proposed development is not supported by East Dunbartonshire councillors and many in the local community. We’d like Cala Homes to accept this and walk away from the proposed development.
There are other sites, such as the site of former Bishopbriggs High School, that may be better suited to housing development.
We value the time, commitment, energy and money that our vibrant community has invested in opposing Cala Homes proposed development and we fully appreciate the support of our local councillors in this fight to save East Dunbartonshire greenspace. – Yours, etc.,
On behalf of SBCG steering group and members