Row over planned site at Kirkintilloch for additional support needs school

Photo Jamie Forbes 26.5.18 Kirkintilloch. Waterside football pitches
Photo Jamie Forbes 26.5.18 Kirkintilloch. Waterside football pitches

A row has broken out over the proposed site at Kirkintilloch of a new 
£23.5 million school for children with additional needs.

East Dunbartonshire Council plans to close Campsie View School and Merkland School and merge them at a new campus at Waterside in Kirkintilloch.

But objections have been raised by local residents over the council’s preferred site – a popular and well-used local playing field.

They are being backed in their campaign against the site by their local SNP MP, 
Stuart McDonald.

He claims more suitable brownfield sites exist locally and is appealing to the council to think again.

Mr McDonald said: “There is no doubt that a new additional support needs school is necessary in East Dunbartonshire. But it seems absolutely bizarre that the council has selected the site of such a well-used and highly valued local playing field in Waterside as the preferred option.

“This would be a terrible loss of amenity. It would significantly change the character of Waterside village and raise significant concerns in relation to additional traffic.

“There are perfectly feasible brown sites available elsewhere in East Dunbartonshire, including at the site of a former school in Auchinairn – and the council’s own planning policy is quite right to 
prioritise brown field sites first. They should follow that policy.

“The community of Waterside must be listened to. It is time to look again at the alternative options available.”

Joint Leader of the Council, Councillor Andrew Polson, said: “A total of 13 site options were shortlisted for consideration. Each option was reviewed through an options appraisal process which considered factors including ground conditions, access, site size and topography.

“Two sites were identified as being feasible for the development, one at the former Auchinairn Primary School and the other at 
Waterside Playing Fields.

“Waterside was identified as the preferred site for a variety of reasons, including links to neighbouring schools, proximity to the existing ASN provision at Campsie View/Merkland and advantages offered by developing the school close to an established community such as Waterside.

“Subject to the outcome of the statutory consultation, the council will be required to demonstrate via the planning process how the design and facilities of the new school will benefit the wider community and neighbours, particularly those in Waterside, of the development.

“The council is committed to engaging with the community through the design development process to ensure local aspirations and needs are reflected in the design of any future development.

“Subject to the outcome of the statutory consultation, the planning process will require a full Traffic Impact Assessment to be undertaken to demonstrate the impact on the roads network surrounding the site.”

He added that the ASN consultation plans were agreed at a council meeting in March and no objections put forward by SNP group.