Bishopbriggs Community Council has joined the protest against plans for a new hub in the town’s library.
The community council’s planning convener Margaret McNaughton said this week proposals put forward by East Dunbartonshire Council “do not address the needs or aspirations of Bishopbriggs people.”
She has also accused the council of using the library for council office space rather than community facilities.
In a letter to EDC’s project officer for the hub, Ms McNaughton wrote: “At no time was the provision of council offices considered to be a part of this community facility.
“Within the past year space within the library has been taken over by EDC offices. First the registrar, then council tax. Users of the community room were moved into the library space, thus diminishing the spaciousness and ambience of the library – leaving reduced availability of access to books and magazines.
“The new plans additionally propose two interview rooms, staff showers, toilets and staff common room. The library building does not have expanding walls!
“In planning terms there is a requirement that any proposed development should be an improvement or insignificant to the current situation. What it must NOT be is detrimental to the existing situation. This proposal diminishes the community library resource.”
She said when EDC granted permission some time ago to supermarket Morrisons to demolish the sports hall in the grounds of the old Bishopbriggs High School, it had been agreed a community facility would be built which would include – a meeting facility for 150 people, a community cafe, small meeting rooms for special interest groups and offices for various ‘surgeries.’
However, she said that although the proposal for a refurbishment of the War Memorial Hall “merely addresses the long-standing lack of basic maintenance, the community council accepted it at least addressed the requirement for a centrally located hall in Bishopbriggs”.
Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “The development of a Community Hub at Bishopbriggs Library
is aimed at improving local accessibility to a range of public services and providing an enhanced community resource for the people of Bishopbriggs.
“For some time now, Council Officers have been talking to the groups who use the library and the hall to make sure we know what their aspirations
for the new-look buildings are.
“Officers developed a number of options that sought to introduce a new Community Hub within the town centre, but these all required an agreement
with both Morrisons and the Archdiocese which was not forthcoming.
“Unfortunately. the proposed consent that Morrisons had for the Bishopbriggs High School site, subject to a Section 75 Legal Agreement, has
now lapsed without being implemented.
“Original plans relied on land from the Morrison’s development so now rather than investing in one site the Council will be improving the library
and the hall for the people of Bishopbriggs who have waited long enough for improvements within the town centre.
“The proposals represent a significant and immediate investment of just over £3m into the town centre and these two important buildings which will
see positive change happen as soon as possible.
“The £2m Hub development will see the library remain as a key and prominent space within the building and provide enhanced library facilities,
including improved meeting and activity spaces and enhanced heritage space which will incorporate the Thomas Muir Museum.”