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."