East Dunbartonshire Council consider move back to Tom Johnston House

Tom Johnston House
Tom Johnston House

East Dunbartonshire Council IS actively looking at a return to its former Tom Johnston House headquarters - just 16 months after moving out.

Last year saw the council abandon the building on Kirkintilloch’s Lenzie Road and relocate to nearby Southbank Marina in a move which the administration insisted would save around £350,000 a year.

At the time the council was slammed for dumping large quantities of office equipment and furniture, while spending a large amount of money completely refurbishing the new headquarters and state-of-the art council chamber.

Earlier this year developers unveiled a plan to transform the site into a supermarket, but now the Herald understands that the council is looking at moving a number of departments back into the empty offices - with a final decision expected in the first half of next year.

One resident said: “I don’t know why they don’t just come out and tell people instead of pretending that it’s not on the table.

“I’ve been told that it’s almost certainly going to happen - it’s just a matter of working out the details and seeing who is going to go where.”

Another Herald reader said: “It seems this council enjoys working in secrecy when they should be trying to be transparent to the taxpayers.

“it looks like they don’t know what they are doing from one day to the next. It’s really quite incredible.”

Returning to the former HQ would be an alternative to the planned integrated accommodation centre and depot at Westerhill Road, in Bishopbriggs.

Initial work on the depot, part of the council’s ‘accommodation strategy plans’, has been halted after councillors were told that the discovery of peat on the site had increased predicted costs by £3.5million.

Officers were told to go back to the drawing board to look at how to house the required services on a smaller budget.

A number of options, including moving back into Tom Johnston House, were set to be presented to councillors last night (Tuesday, December 17) - just after the Herald went to press.

But Thomas Glen, the council’s director of development and regeneration, refused to confirm to the Herald that it was even being considered as an option.

His only comment was: “As per the council’s decision of June 27, 2013, officers are currently reviewing options for the council’s accommodation strategy and will report to a meeting of the council on December 17.”