Plans unveiled to demolishTJ House

Tom Johnston House'Photo by Emma Mitchell'11/11/13
Tom Johnston House'Photo by Emma Mitchell'11/11/13

The bulldozers may soon 
be brought in to demolish 
Tom Johnston House, as part of redevelopment plans for the area.

Council officialThomas Glen told the Herald his officers are presently drawing up “tender documents” for the possible demolition of the former council HQ.

The Kirkintilloch building has lain empty since the council moved to nearby Southbank Marina in August 2012.

A few months ago, marketing agents Whitelaw Baikie Figes were given the go-ahead to market the property, along with the neighbouring Whitegates Business Park owned by sim Property.

The 10-acre site has been earmarked for a large supermarket, petrol station, restaurant, nursery and industrial units, with associated parking and landscaping. – potentially paving the way for a major boost to the local economy.

In May, Councillor Alan Moir, the council’s convener of development and regeneration, said: “There are no guarantees as regards the future use of the Tom Johnston House site and the business park, but I believe there are exciting times ahead.”

Last Tuesday, the council’s Development and Regeneration Committee met in private to discuss the potential razing of the building as the next step in the potential transformation.

Afterwards, Thomas Glen, Director of Development and Regeneration at East Dunbartonshire Council said: “The committee agreed to remit officers to prepare a tender exercise for the possible demolition of the Tom Johnston House building.

“Officers have begun the process of drawinup these tender documents.

“A final decision on any demolition will be subject to a further report back to the council for approval and will consider the interest generated in the site through the ongoing marketing exercise.”

The building was erected in the 1980s as the civic chambers of the then Strathkelvin District Council and named after Labour politician Tom Johnston.

Born in Kirkintilloch in 1881 and educated at Lenzie Academy and Glasgow University, he was elected to Kirkintilloch Town council in 1913 and immediately made an impact as a champion of municipal housing. He left the council in 1922 to concentrate on national politics, but retained many links with Kirkintilloch and in 1931 he became the first Freeman of the Burgh of Kirkintilloch.