Exclusive - sports centre plan could be scrapped as Kilmardinny development goes into meltdown

GV off allander'em'27/1/09

GV off allander'em'27/1/09

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A MULTI-MILLION pound deal to create a new Allander Leisure centre could be OFF.

Vital cash may be withdrawn from the project after a planning wrangle sent Kilmardinny housing development plans into meltdown.

The Herald can reveal that house builders Cala have threatened to reduce the amount they are prepared to pay towards a new sports facility if they can’t build on land owned by West of Scotland rugby club.

Cala want to build more than 500 homes and a new railway station on the ‘Kilmardinny Strip’ - land between Bearsden and Milngavie.

Key to pushing through the controversial plans is a deal with East Dunbartonshire Council that Cala would stump up £10million towards the estimated bill of £19million for a new Allander Leisure centre - which would be moved to make way for homes and rebuilt.

However, Cala also want to build on land owned by West - who own 40 per cent of the developable area.

Recently, the Herald revealed that West no longer want to do a deal with Cala, opting instead to fall in with plans by Waitrose to build a new store on one of their pitches.

But West have objected to Cala’s revised planning application - throwing a massive spanner in the works.

And it can be revealed that Cala has threatened to REDUCE the amount it pays towards the creation of the new sports centre by 40 per cent (£10m to £6m) - to reflect on the 40 per cent of land it will lose out on if West doesn’t play ball.

The threat was made during meetings between the council, the anti-development Kimardinny Westpark Action Group (KWAG) and Cala.

Bearsden North Community Council convener Gordon Cox, who is also chairman of KWAG, was at the meetings.

He said: “My understanding of the situation is that if the Waitrose plan goes ahead this would reduce the amount of land by 40 per cent and consequently Cala could reduce their contribution to the new Allander by 40 per cent.

“It would mean the council having to make up the shortfall.”

A spokeswoman for Cala confirmed it is prepared to reduce its contribution.

She said: “The land owned by the West of Scotland rugby club forms a significant part of the development we have proposed at Kilmardinny.

“Should this land be withdrawn from the plans, the number of houses Cala can build will be reduced, therefore the planning gain package offered by Cala will have to be reduced proportionally.

“We are still in talks with the East Dunbartonshire Council regarding this matter.”

What do you think? Where does the Kilmardinny development go from here? E-mail us at mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk with your views.