Milngavie and Bearsden primary schools could become superpubs, campaigners claim

EDC HQ Southbank Marina - parents demonstrating about school mergers'Photo Emma Mitchell'19/1/13
EDC HQ Southbank Marina - parents demonstrating about school mergers'Photo Emma Mitchell'19/1/13

THERE are fears this week that closure-threatened Bearsden and Milngavie primary schools could be turned into giant ‘super pubs’.

However, council chiefs have refuted the claims.

Campaigners fighting to save the schools say private council correspondence, which they obtained using Freedom of Information legislation, has cast doubt on official consultation documents which stated the large Victorian school buildings would be used for residential use.

They also claim internal council documents show that economic development staff are pushing for the sites to be put to commercial use.

School campaigners say that in a recent internal council paper planners said of the Bearsden Primary School building: “... the Bearsden site is suited to residential or economic development use, with the latter favoured by the town centre team.”

With reference to the Milngavie site it said: ”... in terms of future use, vacant site most likely suited to residential given surrounding uses, though Milngavie site may suit business use as well as residential.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to campaigners, Gordon Currie, East Dunbartonshire Council’s head of education, wrote that the summary note from planners followed “a number of meetings and conversations between colleagues”.

Campaigners fear the buildings could be turned into ‘super pubs’ similar to former school buildings in Glasgow’s Westend.

Adele Crothall, who has three children at Bearsden Primary, said: “Once again, East Dunbartonshire Council has shown a complete lack of transparency during this process.

“The fact that our local school could become a ‘super pub’ or something similar is very worrying for a number of social reasons.

“I urge all readers who haven’t already filled in their questionnaire either online or by post to make their views known. The deadline is this Monday, February 4.

“This isn’t just a concern for parents of primary school children, it strikes at the very heart of the fabric of our community.

“It is high time the voices of Bearsden and Milngavie residents were listened to.”

Derek Cunningham, the council’s director of development and infrastructure, said: “There has never been any consideration or discussion of the sites being used for ‘super pubs’.

“The council document that is being referred to, notes that a large centrally located site in Bearsden, which is currently used as a school, could be suitable for residential or economic development – it is only stating that these are potential uses for the site along with several other possible options.

“Saying that a site may be suitable for economic development does not reasonably lead to the conclusion that it will be used for a ‘super pub’, and any change of use has to go through an extensive consultation and planning process before any decision is made.”