Redevelopment could be good news for Kirkintilloch

Council leader Rhondda Geekie
Council leader Rhondda Geekie

Council leader Rhondda Geekie says the controversial decision to grant planning permission for a new supermarket is ‘‘good news for Kirkintilloch’’.

The potential development took a step forward this week when councillors approved a planning permission in principle application for a mixed-use development – which includes a food store, petrol filling station, restaurant and associated parking, access and landscaping – at the former Tom Johnston House site and neighbouring Whitegates Business Park.

Some existing industrial units and a day nursery will also be retained within Whitegates.

The decision was taken at a special council meeting which followed a planning re-determination hearing held at Lenzie Academy on Tuesday evening where councillors heard representations about the proposed redevelopment.

The application will now be referred to the Scottish Ministers for consideration. This happens in cases where the planning authority – in this case East Dunbartonshire Council – has a financial interest in the site it is determining applications for.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “This is good news for Kirkintilloch and could unlock two sites with a huge amount of potential. It is a positive step towards bringing the site of the council’s former headquarters into use again and at the same time enabling development of the neighbouring land.

“There are no guarantees as regards the future use of the former Tom Johnston House site and the business park, but I believe this application will allow us the chance to try and revitalise the town and bring it back to life.

“This could have a huge benefit to the local economy through job creation while also retaining and attracting shoppers to Kirkintilloch who presently do their shopping out of town.

‘‘‘We listened carefully to the feedback from the local community at the planning pre-determination hearing and this will play an important part in informing any future planning application.”

Both the council and Sim Properties (Whitegates) Ltd still own their respective properties, but the 10-acre joint site is now being actively marketed to help pave the way for a major boost for the local economy.

The council moved its civic headquarters from Tom Johnston House to the marina in August 2012, as part of the corporate asset management programme, to increase efficiency and achieve savings.