Former council HQ up for sale

Tom Johnston House
Tom Johnston House

Council chiefs are pressing ahead with plans that could turn their former headquarters into a major new retail centre.

Tom Johnston House, in Kirkintilloch, has lain empty since East Dunbartonshire Council moved to nearby Southbank Marina in August 2012.

Last week saw marketing agents Whitelaw Baikie Figes 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.

A formal planning application is expected to be lodged later this year, following discussions between developers and planners.

A Proposal of Application Notice was submitted last year by Sim Property and was followed up with a 12-week public consultation.

Councillor Alan Moir, the council’s convener of development and regeneration, said: “This is good news and a positive step towards bringing the council’s former site back into use and at the same time enabling development of the neighbouring land.

“Officers have been working extensively to market the site and explore potential options, but it has proved particularly challenging in the current economic climate.

“The joint venture agreement with Sim Property (Whitegates) Ltd is very welcome and I am confident it will help to unlock two sites in Kirkintilloch with a huge amount of potential.

“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.”

He added: “As soon as we are in a position to say more, we will ensure the local community is kept informed.”