THE CAMPAIGN to prevent the former Bearsden North Church from becoming a restaurant and pub is gathering pace with many new people joining the action group which was set up to oppose the plans.
Commercial Investment Properties has put in an application for a change of use of the old church which is category B listed, at the junction of Drymen Road and Thorn Road, to allow it to become a restaurant selling alcohol with an outdoor seating area.
Residents who formed Bearsden Action Group say the quiet atmosphere of Bearsden Cross would be ruined if East Dunbartonshire allows this development to go ahead.
Bearsden North Community Council is also now backing the action group and Bearsden Primary School Parent Council has slammed the plans as they have concerns about the safety of children making their way to and from school.
They say delivery lorries would need to go along Thorn Road to the former church where many schoolchildren walk and cross to get to the school.
Martin Albrow, chair of the parent council, said: “We have various concerns about the development.
“Our principle worry is the potential of increased traffic, the church is very close to the traffic lights at the bottom of the road.
“Customers will need somewhere to park their car and there is already a shortage of spaces in Bearsden Cross.
“The restaurant has potential to seat 46 - this would mean that when it’s full about 28 cars need parking places.
“This would put a large amount of strain on the existing problems for parking in the area.”
Convener of Bearsden North Community Council, Gordon Cox, said: “Members voted unanimously to oppose these plans and we have sent an objection to the council.
“We are against the development on the grounds that its of unsuitable scale for the location. It’s also against the local plan 2 - as it’s in a residential area.
“We believe the developer should be encouraged to come up with a use that’s more suitable for the church.
“The church will be developed in some way we just felt that this was too large.”
Chairman of Bearsden Action Group, Ken Lemond, said: “We are very interested in an appropriate use for this important building and would like the applicant, who I understand is a very wealthy individual, to explore a more philanthropic and relevant community use that respects the history of the building and the importance of preserving rather than degrading the visual amenity of this site for the Bearsden community and its visitors.”
Robert Steedman, development applications manager at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The statutory time frame for representations has now passed.
“However, responses can be received until the date of the planning board pre-agenda meeting, which is likely to be early to mid-June.
“People with a view on the proposed plans can find details in the planning section of East Dunbartonshire Council website and leave a comment there. “
Alternatively, people can e-mail email@example.com or write to Planning Service, Development & Enterprise, East Dunbartonshire Council, William Patrick Library, Second Floor, 2-4 West High Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1AD.
See letters, page 4