Jo calls for action over sports hall application


Jo has written to East Dunbartonshire Council in support of Bishopbriggs Sports Hall and is encouraging local people to submit their views as soon as possible.

A planning application submitted by Muse Developments has caused concern in recent weeks, raising fears that the hall may be demolished. Muse published two options for the development of Bishopbriggs Town Centre in May this year – one which involved demolishing the sports hall on the former Bishopbriggs Academy site, and one retaining it. The developers told a steering group of volunteers from the community that if they could come up with a viable business plan for running the sports hall as a community facility, Muse would take forward its ‘Option 2′, and leave the hall standing.

However, while the volunteers have been working diligently on their business plan, Muse have submitted a planning application to East Dunbartonshire Council to take forward ‘Option 1′ and demolish the sports hall. Muse and the Council have confirmed that only one option can be submitted in an outline planning application, but that it could still be altered to include the sports hall. A spokesperson for Muse said that a drawing of option 2 was submitted with the application to show that it was still under consideration. However, the community group, headed by Ruth Box, is angry that the developers did not contact them to inform them of the application or explain why option 1 has been given priority.

East Dunbartonshire Council is accepting representations from the public about the application until Wednesday 2nd September.

Commenting, Jo said:

“Both the Council and Muse Developments have confirmed that while the application currently submitted does not include the sports hall, this could change, and they will still consider the community group’s business plan for the sports hall. I am disappointed, however, that Muse have not kept Ruth Box and the sports hall steering group informed of these developments.

“I am urging everyone in the local community who doesn’t want to see the sports hall demolished to write to the Council before the application goes to the board, which is expected to be in October or November.”

The text of Jo’s letter to East Dunbartonshire Council appears below:

Mr Gerry Cornes

PO Box 4

Tom Johnston House

Civic Way

Kirkintilloch G66 4TJ

26th August 2009

Dear Mr Cornes,

Re: Planning Application no. TP/ED/09/0395

Further to our previous correspondence regarding the Bishopbriggs town centre redevelopment, I am writing in advance of the 2nd September public consultation deadline to reiterate my support for the retention of the sports hall located at South Crosshill Road.

I am aware that the recent application by Muse Developments corresponds to option 1 of the revised proposals published in May 2009, which does not include the retention of the sports hall on the former Bishopbriggs Academy site. My office has also been in contact with Muse Developments, who have stated that they included a drawing of option 2 with their application, and are still willing to consider retaining the sports hall if community groups put forward a substantial business case in support of their stated desire to run the sports hall as a facility for community use. As you will be aware, a community group led by Ruth Box is currently re-drafting their second business plan in this respect, and I sincerely hope that the Board and the developers will consider this plan very seriously.

As you know, an overwhelming 93% of the constituents who took part in a survey I carried out in 2007 are in favour of keeping the Sports Hall. This view was supported by the majority of local elected representatives and community leaders attending the consultation meeting with Muse Developments on 5th March 2009, and views expressed by local people at the Bishopbriggs Community Council meetings where the matter has been raised. Many constituents have contacted me to raise their concerns about the waste of money involved in demolishing a facility that cost almost £1million to build just a few years ago. Furthermore, the community group has already been approached by a number of local clubs and organisations who are expressing a strong interest in hiring the hall. Based on its multiple facilities and central location alone, it clearly has the potential to be a highly useful and important resource for the local community.

Public consultation must be central to the Board’s decision. In this respect, I would appeal to you to make the retention of the Sports Hall as illustrated in option 2 of the revised proposals a condition of the acceptance of Muse’s application.

Yours Sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

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