Council hits back at MP’s anger over historic house sale

Councillor Alan Moir
Councillor Alan Moir

East Dunbartonshire Council has hit back at a local MP’s criticism of the sale of the historic Huntershill House in Bishopbriggs.

John Nicolson, SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire wants Environment Scotland to intervene to protect the building which was home to the father of democracy Thomas Muir.

A planning application for extensions to the listed Georgian building to create a 42-bedroom care home comes before the council’s Planning Board tomorrow (Tuesday, September 27). The alterations include the demolition of existing extensions to the building.

He has accused the council, which has owned the listed Georgian building since 1960, of selling it and surrounding land off for the “paltry sum” of £140,000.

But Labour councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Regeneration said the council is “committed to achieving best value” for the site.

He said: “The Huntershill House site was marketed as a development opportunity from November 2011-January 2012 and also September-November 2012.

“A number of enquiries were received but no formal offers.

“The Council later received two offers - both of which were fully considered.

“East Dunbartonshire Council’s Development and Regeneration Committee agreed at a meeting on 28 January 2014 to progress with the sale of

Huntershill House and associated land.

“As the sale is commercially sensitive it would inappropriate to comment on specifics, except to emphasise that the Council is committed to

achieving best value.

“As Huntershill House is a listed building, it is for the proposed purchaser to work on the design proposal and liaise with Historic Scotland

to obtain its agreement. If and when that is in place - and if planning consent is granted and any outstanding legal issues resolved - the Council

will be able to conclude the sale.

“The proposed disposal includes a conservation burden which has been secured as part of the conditions of sale.”

Huntershill House, which is now in a state of disrepair will be sold to a developer subject to council planning permission and approval by Historic Environment Scotland.

Mr Nicolson has called on the council the “go back to the drawing board.”

He added: “Ideally, the building should be sold with a deed of covenant in place which would protect it for future generations. We can, and must do better.”

East Dunbartonshire Council has owned the building since the 1960s.

Read Mr Nicolson’s full views at http://www.kirkintilloch-herald.co.uk/news/local-headlines/mp-hits-out-at-sale-of-historic-house-1-4238373