Older people in Lenzie are being forced out of the area where they have lived for most of their lives.
That’s the claim by a local action group who are campaigning to have planning consent revoked for a housing development on the grounds of the former Lenzie Hospital.
Members of Lenzie Pre-Community Development Trust are petitioning East Dunbartonshire Council and they have organised a public meeting on Monday, April 24 at 7.30pm at Lenzie Union Parish Church.
They say the construction of 44 luxury detached houses and 24 affordable older people’s flats goes against a joint strategic plan between the council and the NHS to develop elderly care at the site and also does not comply with the Local Plans for the area.
At a meeting of the council’s planning board in December last year, a council officer recommended the housing development application by Robertson Homes be refused because it “is considered not to comply with the provisions of the East Dunbartonshire Local Plan 2 and the East Dunbartonshire Local Development Plan”.
However, at the meeting, Councillor Rhondda Geekie, seconded by Provost Una Walker, proposed an amendment to grant the application, which was passed by the board.
The action group claim that as a result, older people in Lenzie are now being forced to move outwith the community where they have raised their family.
Ross Burnside of the group said: “What is the justification for granting permission for this? Under the town and country planning act, local authorities should follow their own plan”.
He added: “The population of elderly people is disproportionately rising.”
Back in 2001, the Herald reported on joint plans to develop a 60-bed nursing home and a social day care centre for the elderly at the site.
The council, North Glasgow University NHS Trust and the NHS Greater Glasgow were working jointly on the Carewell Initiative to provide the new facilities for older people. It was also to provide a joint health and social care team specialising in care for the elderly.
In their petition to council chief executive Gerry Cornes, the action group are demanding the planning consent be revoked and the Carewell Community Partnership Care Village be continued.
They are also calling for the council to respect the group’s aims to “hold our community together and prevent downsizers being forced out of the village” and “respect the health and social care needs of Lenzie’s vulnerable older residents”.
Depute Chief Executive, Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, Thomas Glen, said: “The council is aware of the petition, however, it has not yet been formally submitted to the council for consideration. When the petition is submitted then it will be placed before the relevant committee of the council for consideration, however it is important to remember that decisions taken by the Planning Board fall within the council’s quasi judicial remit, and as such there is limited scope for these decisions to be altered.
“The council remains committed to affordable mixed tenure housing to meet the needs of communities.”