Morrisons should use Bishopbriggs site for community benefit – Jo
Jo Swinson MP has written to Morrisons asking them to consider how the currently unused site in Bishopbriggs could be used for the benefit of the community while plans to build a new store remain firmly stalled.
Local residents have told Jo that the unkempt site right in the centre of town could be put to more productive use. Jo agrees, and has written to Morrisons, to ask if they would consider using the land as a venue to host community events. In her letter Jo also encouraged Morrisons to engage with Bishopbriggs Community Council about alternatives temporary uses for the site.
Additionally, Jo has been in contact with Morrisons about potential local job losses, following news at the end of last year of job cuts across the UK. Thankfully, Jo has been assured that the current store in Bishopbriggs will be unaffected.
“The former High School land is at the heart of Bishopbriggs, and local people don’t want such a large and central site to remain unused and unkempt. They rightly want to know Morrisons’ future plans. Whilst I welcomed Morrisons telling me that contractors would start clearing up some of the overgrown vegetation this month, I want them to go further and lay out plans for how this large area could be put to productive use in the community until they are in a position to take forward proposals for development.
“Despite the slow progress on the new store in Bishopbriggs it is very reassuring to know that local jobs are secure, even with Morrisons making cutbacks across the UK.”
You can read Jo's letter to Morrisons here
Bishopbriggs town centre: no imminent plans for new store but site to get clean-up
East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson recently held a meeting with senior figures at Morrisons to discuss the supermarket’s plans to build a new store and a petrol station on the site of the old Bishopbriggs High School.
The long-running proposal shows no signs of reaching a conclusion, as Morrisons told Jo that the development in Bishopbriggs is “still under review” with no decision imminent.
A number of local residents have written to Jo expressing their concerns about the poor state of the unused site, and Jo was able to raise this in the meeting. Morrisons confirmed that in January contractors will begin work on clearing this up, including dealing with the overgrown vegetation on footpaths.
“It’s very frustrating that in the last year there has been no progress on the plans for Bishopbriggs town centre, when such a prime site is lying empty and unkempt. I know local people and business owners in Bishopbriggs want to know what will happen, which is why I pushed Morrisons for more detail on their intentions.
“However, I do welcome the fact that there will be some much needed action to tidy up the messy site, and I am pleased that Morrisons told me they will be paying close attention to the state of the site in future to pre-empt any future complaints.”
“So at the moment plans seem to be firmly stalled, but I will continue to keep people updated on any future developments.”
Local councillors were presented with the first details of the preferred option for a new Bishopbriggs Community Hub at the December 17 Council meeting.
The preferred plans would see a two-storey extension added to the side of the library building, where the current St Matthew’s Parish Church stands. A new church and church hall would then be built further east of the hub.
The hub would include a reception, library, meeting space, flexible areas, a hall holding up to 150 people and a social work day care facility. There would also be a police presence in the hub, as well as NHS day surgeries.
The Council is pursuing its preferred option which depends on church leaders agreeing to sell them part of their land and develop the site together. There is a second option however the Council claims it would compromise current town centre development plans.
You can read what the Council proposes in further detail on page 32 and 33 of the report by clicking here.
25 October 2013
Morrisons must involve the community in next steps for town centre - Jo
Local MP Jo Swinson has encouraged Morrisons to involve the community as they move forward with their plans to build a new store in Bishopbriggs. At a meeting last Friday Morrisons executives said that no immediate action will be taken to progress the plans for a new superstore, with further information on their next steps likely to come in the New Year.
Morrisons had submitted two planning applications, one for a new superstore and one for a petrol station, both on a site including the current Morrisons car park and the area of the old Bishopbriggs High School. The Council rejected both applications - however in August Morrisons won their appeal for the new superstore when the Scottish Government Reporter overturned the Council’s decision. The Reporter upheld the refusal of the petrol station application. Morrisons are now analysing the commercial impact of these decisions before deciding how they want to proceed.
Commenting Jo said:
“There has long been support for a more diverse retail offer and community facilities in the town centre. It seems that no further action will be taken this year by Morrisons as they weigh their options. The community will have to wait for their next move though I have emphasised the importance of Morrisons engaging with local residents as the plans progress. I also hope to meet shortly with East Dunbartonshire Council to discuss what progress they are making regarding the community facilities part of the development.”
Jo is calling on Morrisons to involve the community as they move forward with their plans to build a new store in Bishopbriggs.
The Council’s planning officers let Morrisons know their plans did not meet residents’ concerns and decided not to grant permission for the store, however Morrison’s won their appeal launched with the Scottish Government Reporter and the decision was overturned in August. Morrisons appeal to build a petrol station and long stay car park was dismissed.
Despite the disappointment felt by the Bishopbriggs Town Team and local residents opposed to the plan following the Reporter’s decision Jo continues to make the case that there is still time for Morrisons to take residents’ comments on board and create a vibrant future for Bishopbriggs town centre.
“There has long been support for a more diverse retail offer and community facilities in the town centre so it’s unfortunate that the needs of Bishopbriggs residents, are now at the whim of a supermarket chain.
“There’s still time to tackle some of residents’ concerns about the size of the store and its potential impact to change the character of the town, increase traffic, and impact businesses already in the town centre if Morrisons will listen."
Morrisons have won their store appeal
Commenting, Jo said:
“This will come as a deeply disappointing decision to many local residents, the Town Team and the Council’s planning officers who let Morrisons know their plans did not meet residents’ concerns.
“If Morrisons had taken residents’ comments on board they would have designed a store which was closer to the current town centre and complemented the existing character of the area, and avoided the whole appeal process.
“Now the permission is granted the Council must work with Morrisons, the community and other traders to make the best of this situation to create a vibrant future for Bishopbriggs town centre.”
No need for Morrisons to appeal if they listened to locals – Jo
Jo has written to the Scottish Government following the launch of Morrisons’ appeal against East Dunbartonshire Council. The supermarket giant lodged an appeal after Council planning officers refused to grant them planning permission for a new food store and petrol station in Bishopbriggs.
It is expected that the Government will shortly appoint a Reporter, who will decide how to proceed with the appeal. Morrisons is disputing the Council’s claim that its plans contravene local planning rules.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I have written to the Scottish Government in support of the planning officers’ decision and to make clear that Morrisons’ plans did not meet residents concerns.
“Local people repeatedly let Morrisons know that the proposed store was not close enough to the current town centre, would force people to drive, and that it did not take the character of the area into account.
“This appeal is unwanted and unnecessary – if Morrisons had taken comments on board and acknowledged the existing town centre, they could come up with a new application which would be in line with local people’s wishes.”
17/05/13 - Commenting on Morrisons decision to appeal East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning refusal for a new store in Bishopbriggs Jo said:
“Many local people, on both sides of the issue, were taken aback when Morrisons application was turned down last month. "
“What I found in an e-consultation on the issue, and saw echoed in the local press, is that people want a diverse retail offer and community facilities in Bishopbriggs town centre but Councillors were clearly not convinced that Morrisons’ plans would be positive for the town centre. Although they had taken account some local concerns in their plans, the increased distance between the store and the main shopping area of Bishopbriggs was a particular worry."
“It’s not particularly surprising that Morrisons have decided to appeal the decision, though it is a shame that they have decided to pursue this route rather than engage further on what changes to the plans would be needed to reassure the local community.”
15/05/13 - Morrisons will appeal the Council’s planning refusal:http://bit.ly/19yZevI
03/04/13 -The Council’s Planning Board has turned down Morrisons application to build a new store in Bishopbriggs. They voted by 15 votes to seven to reject the proposals.
21/02/13 – Commenting on East Dunbartonshire Council’s decision not to grant permission for Morrisons to build a petrol station Jo said:
“I welcome the Council Planning Board’s decision to organise a site visit before deciding whether the proposed new Morrisons store for Bishopbriggs should go ahead.
“This decision is one that could affect the character of our town centre for years to come and Councillors need to consider it very carefully.
“I think the Council made the right call to refuse Morrisons’ plans for a petrol station, as a recent consultation I did to find out local residents’ views had 57 per cent of respondents against this proposal fearing increased traffic and pollution. However I know it may disappoint a number of local residents as there was some support for this locally inthe hopes it would drive down fuel costs.”
21/02/13 – Morrisons’ petrol station plans have been refused by the Council. The Council will discuss the new store plans on 2 April 2013 following a site visit
19/02/13 – The application will be considered at the full Planning Board meeting on 19 February. The recommendations for the Morrisons site are:
- To refuse the petrol station and long stay car park.
- To grant the store.
It is possible that a site visit at South Crosshill Road will be granted before the application is considered. .
21/01/13 – Blog post on the latest changes proposed by Morrisonshttp://cleddensresidents.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/morrisons-changes.html
17/10/12 – Cleddens Residents group hold meeting with planner Stewart McNally in advance of 26 October deadline to feed back to the Council.
19/09/12 – Bishopbriggs Town Team Meeting held to discuss the recently submitted plans.
30/05/12 – Morrisons is holding a public exhibition, the chance for the public to see the plans for Bishopbriggs Town Centre which includes a civic hub and focal point.
26/01/12 – Jo was one of the many community members who visited the Town Team meeting where local residents came along to ‘vote’ for their favourite ideas or solutions.
20/01/12 – Jo Swinson met with Richard Bakes from Morrison to voice community concerns over their plans. Read Jo’s comment here.
14/01/12 – Jo attended the PlaceCheck where over 100 people turned out to voice their views and concerns. Read Jo’s comments here.
23/12/11 – Jo has criticised Morrisons for producing inappropriate plans for Bishopbriggs town centre, and for their inadequate community engagement so far. Read Jo’s comments here.
12/09/11 – Jo has spoken to Morrisons to get an update on the latest Bishopbriggs Town Centre redevelopment news – see a summary of the news and Jo’s comments here.
25/03/11 – Following Jo’s meeting with Guy Mason from Morrisons, it was suggested that she should meet Morrisons’ Scottish contact, Andrew Wood. Jo asked for a guarantee that the plans would not move forward until extensive consultation with the community had been carried out. You can read her comments here.
The results are in: locals divided on Morrisons’ plans
Jo conducted three surveys as part of her latest e-consultation seeking local residents’ views on the various development projects planned in East Dunbartonshire.
One of the surveys focused on the redevelopment of Bishopbriggs town centre, in particular, the applications recently submitted by Morrisons for a new store and a petrol station.
Results show there is some appetite for change with 35 per cent of respondents thinking the current state of the town centre was poor, with too much traffic, a lack of retailers and a lack of character. 40 per cent of respondents felt the current town centre was acceptable.
When it came to plans for a new Morrisons supermarket respondents were divided. Of those who expressed an opinion 55 per cent were against the plan and 45 per cent for it. Many residents are worried about the size of the store and its potential impact to change the character of the town, increase traffic, and impact businesses already in the town centre.
Commenting, Jo Swinson said:
“It’s clear that there’s a real desire for a redeveloped town centre that acts as a community hub with better shopping available for local residents. However many are concerned that the plans Morrisons have on the table are not going to contribute to bringing this about.
“People are worried that the new store is primarily aimed at car users, many of whom will not come to the town centre to use the other shops and facilities. And with the store planned to be built considerably further from the town centre than the current one, there is a real danger it will impact on the vitality of the existing centre.
“Overall, there is clear support for a more diverse retail offer and community facilities in the town centre. It is vital that the Council ensure that any development is done well with the needs of Bishopbriggs, rather than a supermarket chain, at the forefront.
“All documents relating to Morrisons planning applications will be available on East Dunbartonshire Council’s Planning and Building Standards website at http://bit.ly/PiORae.
“I have passed the results on in my comments to the Council.”
Following the sale of the Bishopbriggs redevelopment land to Morrisons on December 21, 2010 Jo has welcomed the publication of the Section 75 legal agreement regulating the terms of the planning permission.
The Section 75 agreement has specified a financial contribution from the developers of £300,000 for the delivery of a new Community Hub. The facilities will include exhibition space, a community cafe and offices suitable for public meetings.The provision of 60 unrestricted long stay car parking spaces will go ahead, and £140,000 will also be put toward improving Kirkintilloch Road. Affordable housing will also be built on the land.
You can read the full Section 75 Legal Agreement here:
Read Jo’s full comments on the Section 75 Legal Agreement here: