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Are Bearsden and Milngavie the ‘poor relations’ in East Dunbartonshire?

BEARSDEN and Milngavie are the ‘poor relations’ in the district - according to some residents.

Questions are being asked by locals who are angry about the loss of local authority jobs and lack of investment in the area.

The debate was sparked by our recent report about the sale of former council education building, Boclair House in Bearsden, for £1.5million.

Calls have been made for the cash to stay on THIS side of the district.

Colin Scott from Bearsden is so concerned about the inequality that he has submitted a Freedom of Information request asking the council to reveal how much it has made by selling off assets and land.

The planning and social work departments both closed in Milngavie in recent years and staff were transferred to Kirkintilloch.

Land at the old Bearsden Academy site in Morvern Road also sold for around £25million.

Mr Scott said: “Boclair House is yet another example of a public asset being sold here to prop up the council’s coffers but I wonder what proportion of the funds find their way back to Milngavie or Bearsden?

“The contrast in the council’s approach between Bearsden/Milngavie and Kirkintilloch is stark.

“I’m alarmed by the gradual drift of local authority jobs and assets towards Kirkintilloch, while residents in Milngavie and Bearsden are overlooked and only called upon to pay their council tax and accommodate the wishes of private developers.

“Meanwhile there has been massive investment in the Southbank Marina, in council accommodation in Bishopbriggs and a new arts and cultural centre,

“I don’t grudge investment in Kirkintilloch, but council funds need to be allocated fairly.”

Gordon Cox, chairperson of Bearsden North Community Council, agrees with these views.

He said: “I’d like to see money ringfenced and spent in this area.”

But the council leader Rhondda Geekie refutes the claim that investments are made in other parts of the council at the expense of Milngavie and Bearsden.

She says the sale of Boclair House is part of the council’s asset rationalisation programme to find savings in times of unprecedented financial challenges, and added: “A number of council assets across the area are being marketed as services are brought together to make savings on accommodation and energy costs.

“We want to ensure that a new Allander Leisure centre is built in Bearsden before the existing centre is closed.

“Community hubs are going to built in Bearsden and Milngavie to give local people access to a number of council services under one roof using modern technology and offering first class customer service.

“Significant investment has been made into Kilmardinny Arts Centre and Boclair Academy and there is ongoing investment into the roads infrastructure.

“East Dunbartonshire Council is served by 24 elected members from all the area’s towns and villages. They make spending decisions and oversee a budget that is fair, robust and open to scrutiny.”

What do you think? Does Milngavie and Bearsden get its fair share? Join in the debate - e0mail us at mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk or leave a comment below

 

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