Youth football coach feels let down over the fate of Waterside pitch

A youth football coach says he feels let down by the response from local politicians concerning the fate of his club’s pitch.

Ian Bowman, who coaches the 2007s team at Kirkintilloch club Rosebank United, has hit out at Strathkelvin MSP Rona Mackay and Stuart McDonald MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East.

East Dunbartonshire Council has decided to build a new school for children with additional support needs - a move which has been welcomed by many people, except that the chosen site will result in the loss of Waterside football pitch.

Mr Bowman said: “A group of us who have been campaigning to have this decision reversed have had a number of meetings with MSP Rona Mackay (SNP) to ask her to raise this issue with the Scottish Government.

“We also had a meeting attended by both MP Stuart MacDonald (SNP) and MSP Rona Mackay (SNP), who assured us that she would take this matter further on our behalf.

“As the weeks and months passed with no response from MSP Rona Mackay , we arranged to meet her on Friday, November 1, for an update.

“We were amazed and disgusted that all she had to tell us was that she had done nothing. She had decided that nothing could be done!

“This is the way our elected MSP and MP treat the electorate. They meet with us, listen to our concerns , agree to act on our behalf and then do nothing!”

Mr McDonald said: “I’m sorry Mr Bowman feels that way, and he should feel free to contact me at any time - as far as I can see he has not done that.

“I’ve enjoyed a good and close working relationship with the Waterside campaigners. Like them, I agree there is an urgent need for a new ASN school in East Dunbartonshire, but like them I also believe this is not the correct site for it.

“That’s why I accepted their invitation to attend the protest against the proposals; why I spoke out about the issue and why I submitted detailed representations to the council consultation setting out my view.

“Even after the council made their decision rejecting our submissions, I supported Rona Mackay’s work in setting up a meeting with council officers to allow the campaigners’ concerns to be heard.

“Ultimately this was a council decision - and it is there that responsibility lies. In any event, I stand by what I’ve said and done on behalf of the Waterside community”.

East Dunbartonshire Councillor, Lib Dem Susan Murray said: “I think that Mr McDonald misses the point. As I understand it Mr Bowman is unhappy with the lack of action on this occasion; but he is correct - the decision and responsibility for replacing Campsie View and Merkland ASN Schools lies with council.

“All councillors, including the SNP, voted to progress with the ASN School project, combining Campsie View School and Merkland School, on

the Waterside site following advice from the Chief Solicitor on the legal position.

“I came in to this too late to make sure that Waterside community’s views were included earlier in the planning stages for this new ASN school. Much of the work to choose the site appears to have taken place before I was elected and in the first year of this council when the SNP ran the minority administration.

“Since the decision I have been working consistently, within council and with the support of the Lib Dem Joint Leader and the Lib Dem Convenor of Education, to make sure that a full-sized grass football pitch and a children’s play area, which are so important to the Waterside community, will be part of the project should planning permission be granted. This administration is listening to the community - it is not always those who make the most noise that get things done.”

Rona Mackay MSP was also approached for comment.