HILLFOOT rail station in Bearsden SHOULD NOT be moved - even if plans to create a rail halt near the Allander Leisure centre go ahead.
It was agreed at a full meeting of the council last Thursday that the stop should be retained even if a new one is created.
The new station would meet the needs of the commuters who are expected to move into the area if the Kilmardinny project goes ahead.
This involves Cala building hundreds of new homes on land near the existing leisure centre between Milngavie and Bearsden.
Councillor Ian Mackay, leader of East Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP group, put forward a motion for the council to commit to defining and reserving sites for new rail halts at Woodilea in Kirkintilloch, Westerhill in Bishopbriggs and the Allander, pending an investigation into the merits, costs and feasibility of these facilities.
Independent councillor for Bearsden, Duncan Cumming, supported this but also wanted the council to accept an amendment to the motion to protect Hillfoot Station.
He said: “In the last six weeks or so, I’ve been contacted by a significant number of constituents who regularly use Hillfoot. Their concerns surrounded the suggestion that the station may in the future be relocated further up the line towards the Allander Sports centre.
“I supported plans for the new rail halt at Allander but not at the expense of the existing well-used Hillfoot rail station as I believe it provides a valuable service.
“Figures just released by Network Rail demonstrate the increasing use of this station. Between the years 2006 to 2010 the passenger journeys increased by a staggering 68 per cent. In 2010 passenger journeys at Hillfoot Station were 279,000. This is by far the highest percentage increase compared to any other rail station in East Dunbartonshire.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Vaughan Moody and Labour councillor Alan Moir also called for the council to secure the future of Hillfoot station in an amendment of the motion.
Mr Moody said: “Hillfoot Station is very popular with all users. Between 2006 and 2010 an extra 113,000 journeys were made from Hillfoot. Now that we have a service to Edinburgh I suspect it will become even busier. We must retain it.”
Councillor Cumming’s and Councillor Moody’s ammendements to Councillor Mackay’s motion were agreed at the meeting.
Councillor Rhondda Geekie, leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The council is happy with the content of Councillor Mackay’s motion and in addition, we would like to confirm our commitment to Hillfoot Station and our desire to ensure that Network Rail and Transport Scotland take cognisance of the likely impact of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme on Bishopbriggs, Bearsden and Lenzie. As a council, we’d like to propose that these communities are offered a viable parking solution for their already existing stations. I can also confirm that the council agreed to consider the rail 2014 public consultation at a future meeting of the development and infrastructure committee.”