East Dunbartonshire Council has been accused of “selling off the family silver” during its public consultation on the future Milngavie Community Hub.
Concerned Milngavie resident Fiona Crosbie has expressed alarm at the lack of regard given to the future of existing assets such as the Community Education Centre, which is earmarked for closure once the new hub is completed. The local library is also to be moved to the hub.
She said: “It was stated that, once the hub was built and the library transferred to the new building, the Community Education Centre would be closed.
“Although a hub is obviously a desirable one-stop shop for accessing council services, it seems to me that East Dunbartonshire Council is not allowing for any meaningful discussion about the future of two community assets.
“The choice of the day before the school holidays for the information with one month for comments seems hardly to be consulting with the community about the biggest infrastructure changes since the 1960s.
“It would seem that in fact this is a golden opportunity the develop that infrastructure and enhance the facilities available to the community.
“The Community Education Centre already accommodates scores of clubs, societies and community groups. Many are focused on the most deprived and vulnerable members of our society.
“Surely the wonderful location of the centre with its vibrant pond and woodland is crying out to be developed.
“Groups such as Milngavie Community Development Trust have already identified the community’s wish to have a community cinema through a household survey in 2015, which could be accommodated in the building.
“With the increase of families with young children the need for more after-school and breakfast club provision.
“The Heritage Centre, which would become homeless under the hub plans, could be accommodated and the possibly amalgamated with the Bearsden Archive, which has been in store since the closure of Brookwood Library.
“The West Highland Way passes the CE Centre and the possibility of facilities for walkers, perhaps a interpretation centre and social enterprise cafe.
“The location itself could be developed to include an environmental education hub focusing on the diverse habitats in the vicinity, working in partnership with schools, Mugdock Ranger services and environmental charities.
“The possibilities are endless. Getting rid of the CE Centre is like selling off the family silver. At the very least, there should be time to explore the possibilities to develop and enhance this precious community asset.”
Ann Davie, the council’s depute chief executive for Education, People & Business said: “Engagement on the next steps for Milngavie Community Hub is ongoing and in addition to the information sessions held in June, there is a webpage with all the details and the information boards are now on display in Milngavie Library.
“Comments can continue to be submitted until Sunday, August 18. The information online and in the library identifies the preferred site for the Community Hub following an options appraisal and includes a proposal to incorporate the current facilities from both the Community Education Centre and Town Hall sites in one extended Community Hub facility for the town.”
Further information on the consultation and how to have your say can be found at https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/council/consultations/milngavie community-hub-engagement-next-steps.