Green light for two major housing developments in Kirkintilloch

Kirkintilloch road safety campaigner Sandy Taylor, who is blind, raised concerns that some of the features of the plans were totally unsuitable for visually impaired people such as himself
Kirkintilloch road safety campaigner Sandy Taylor, who is blind, raised concerns that some of the features of the plans were totally unsuitable for visually impaired people such as himself

Two major housing developments in Kirkintilloch have been given the go-ahead following planning hearings.

The two hearings, held on Wednesday, November 20, at East Dunbartonshire Council’s headquarters, were followed by a special meeting of the full council to deliver the decisions.

The first hearing concerned proposals from Persimmon Homes to construct 84 dwellings on land at Whitegates on Lenzie Road.

This is a mixture of 36 three-bedroomed, eight two-bedroomed and ten four-bedroomed houses plus 30 two-bedroomed flats in three blocks. Thirty-three of the homes will be categorised as within the affordable housing sector.

Kevin Murphy from Persimmon Homes, accompanied by colleagues, addressed councillors to argue for the proposals.

Objector James Lochhead had been invited to speak against them but was unable to attend the meeting.

At the subsequent full council meeting where the hearings were decided upon, Councillor Gillian Renwick proposed an amendment to change the Section 75 agreement, which requires developers to contribute towards local infrastructure and services such as education when bringing new housing to an area. The new terms of the agreement require consideration be given to the junction where the B757 meets Monklands Avenue with a view to possibly widening it.

The amendment was carried by nine votes to six. After the meeting Councillor Renwick commented: “Building houses on this site was suggested by the SNP group in April 2016 – so we’re delighted that Kirkintilloch is going to gain all this affordable housing, and hopefully resolve the problems there has been at the Monklands junction as well.”

The other hearing concerned the council’s own plans to build 87 new homes – eight three-bedroomed houses, 15 two-bedroomed houses and four one-bedroomed houses as well as 60 one-or-two bedroomed flats on the former Tom Johnstone House site.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Iain Brodie and Holly McNaught of MAST Architects, were the main speakers in favour of the proposals, while Sandy Taylor, the chairman of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum, was there to speak against the plans.

Mr Taylor expressed a number of concerns regarding the layout of the planned development, claiming features such as the kerbing and the open spaces were totally unsuitable for visually impaired people such as himself. He was also concerned about footpaths being shared between cyclists and pedestrians and called for this part of the design to be changed.

“The town centre and train station are already completely inaccessible,” he added.

The argument from the developers’ position was that their designs had been drawn up based on extensive consultation and that all of the housing was designed specifically for disabled occupants or could easily be converted to suit people with additional needs.

Following the hearing the full council agreed to implement the recommendations and grant planning permission.