Sale of Tom Johnston House site to be held in private

Photograph Jamie Forbes 9.11.13 KIRKINTILLOCH. Tom Johnston House.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 9.11.13 KIRKINTILLOCH. Tom Johnston House.

Plans for the sale of the Tom Johnston House site in Kirkintilloch are being held behind closed doors by East Dunbartonshire Council tonight (Thursday).

The discussion will take place in private as part of a meeting of the full council.

Councillors will hear a report from the Depute Chief Executive – Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets on the proposed disposal of the site at Whitegates Business Park.

Demolition workers tore down the council’s former headquarters at the end of last year.

The building had been left derelict since August 2012 when the council moved to its new home in nearby Southbank Marina.

The site is up for sale and council chiefs hope to attract a developer, with planning permission already granted early in 2015 for a food store, petrol filling station and restaurant.

But as reported by the Herald in November last year, residents are questioning whether the plans will benefit the town.

Some slammed the move as a waste of money, while others said they wanted to see the land used to ease a lack of housing in the area,

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration, said last year: “The council moved its civic headquarters from Tom Johnston House to the Marina in August 2012, as part of the Corporate Asset Management Programme, to increase efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and achieve savings.

“At its meeting on 25 June 2015, the Council decided to proceed with the demolition of Tom Johnston House following completion of the tender process. “As previously publicised, work is currently underway on the demolition of the derelict property and it is expected to be completed before Christmas.

“In April, councillors approved a planning permission in principle application for a mixed-use development - including a food store, petrol filling station, restaurant and associated parking - at the former Tom Johnston House site and neighbouring Whitegates Business Park.

“Both the Council and Sim Properties (Whitegates) Ltd still own their respective properties, but the 10-acre joint site is being marketed - potentially paving the way for a major boost for the local economy.”

In some circumstances, the council can exclude the public and press from meetings because it is likely that confidential or exempt information will be disclosed.

Tonight’s council agenda recommends the council pass the following resolution: “That under Section 50A (4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, as amended, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 6 and 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act”.

Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said this afternoon: “Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, any items which contain financially or commercially-sensitive information must be considered by elected members in private.”