Kilmardinny controversy reaches Westminster
OPPOSITION to the stance taken by a Scottish Government reporter in the Kilmardinny/ Westpark development proposals was raised in Parliament.
In the last Commons debate before the Christmas recess, MP Jo Swinson highlighted the injustices of a planning system which allows unelected officials to overrule local councils on important planning issues.
As reported in last week's Herald, opponents to the CALA/Stewart Milne development, which proposes 550 houses, a retail park and commercial properties on land stretching from Hillfoot to Auchenhowie, branded the reporter's recent correspondence as 'biased' in favour of the developers.
Ms Swinson has joined the condemnation of reporter Janet McNair's handling of the development proposals and told the Herald: "The reporter is urging East Dunbartonshire Council to accept a deal put forward by developers which would leave council taxpayers severely out of pocket."
In a debate, the MP said: "It does not serve local interests well when the views of the people who know best — those who represent a local area — are overturned.
"The Lower Kilmardinny development is one of the issues that is most often raised with me by constituents, who are almost unanimously opposed to it. There is a real sense that the system has failed local people and democracy is not working for them.
"I firmly believe that the Kilmardinny development as currently proposed should not and must not go ahead."
A decision is expected soon on whether the reporter will impose a ruling herself.
In a recent statement she told both sides if they confirmed by December 18 that they believed agreement could be reached she would grant a four-month extension for further negotiation.
However, she warned if the two sides could not confirm agreement was likely, she would herself impose a settlement.
East Dunbartonshire Council responded that it was willing to continue with negotiations but pointed out that certain of the suggested terms left the council "unreasonably at risk" to an increasing funding gap, particularly over a replacement sports centre.
The MP agrees and said: "In April this year, the reporter asked developers to put forward 10million to build a new sports centre to replace Allander Leisure.
"The new centre is expected to cost around 17million and there has already been widespread public outcry at the reporter's judgement that the council should foot the rest of the bill.
"After months of negotiations, the developers are offering to add just two per cent to their contribution — a far cry from the 7million needed.
"I find it appalling that after taking so long to decide whether negotiations should be extended, the reporter is now trying to impose a deal which is little different from the one that was on the table in the first place."
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Weather for Milngavie
Sunday 26 May 2013
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