Residents fight to save Canniesburn Woods

Some of the residents who oppose this planning application in Canniesburn Woods.

Some of the residents who oppose this planning application in Canniesburn Woods.

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A group of residents plan to challenge a decision which will allow an area of land in Canniesburn Woods, Bearsden, to become a private garden.

A group of 12 local people have been studying the planning application which has been granted for a change of use of land from recreational woodland to private garden ground at 91 Fernlea, Bearsden.

The applicant also intends to erect a two metre high timber fence.

Bearsden resident Alan Oliver, said: “We are very worried that this sets a precedent for any property that backs onto woodland which will be felt across East Dunbartonshire and perhaps Scotland for years to come.

“We believe the council has not been transparent and has not followed the planning process it is required to do with an application.”

The residents claim that the planning application was not advertised in Milngavie and Bearsden Herald as required in the planning process.

They also claim that numbers 5 and 7 Canniesburn Road were not notified as they should have been.

The group also says the land was bought at a reduced price at public auction which was never advertised locally.

And the land was purchased by a former director of East Dunbartonshire Enterprise Trust Limited (EDET Ltd) - Mr M Marr.

His agent Mr C Johnstone, Dallman Johnstone Architects, was also a director on the board of EDET Ltd at the time along with two councillors from the planning board - Cllr Dempsey and Hendry as well as the depute chief executive of place, neighbourhoud and corporate assets Thomas Glen.

Mr Glen recommended the approval of the application and Cllrs Dempsey and Hendry voted to approve the application.

Mr Oliver added: “Surely an interest should have been declared given the heated debate and enormity of the precedent this would set?”

The residents also say that a Woodland Management Plan is currently in place for Canniesburn Woods to preserve trees and to ensure that woodland will form part of a public open space.

They claim that an application should have been made to remove these conditions.

Depute chief executive Thomas Glen said: “Planning recommendations and decisions are made solely on planning guidelines and no other considerations can be taken in to account.

“Due planning process was applied in this case but as a complaint has been received it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”