SNP PUSH CALA ON CASH OPTIONS

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SHOW us the money - that’s the demand being made of housing developers Cala in the wake of their public consultation into the future of the Allander Leisure centre.

The house builders recently set out three options which they hope will take forward the long-running debate over the future of the ‘Kilmardinny Strip’ - land between Bearsden and Milngavie earmarked for the construction of hundreds of homes.

Cala and Stewart Milne want to build more than 500 houses in the area, but plans have so far stalled as they seek to reach agreement on the future of the popular Allander sports centre

It has been proposed that the centre be demolished and a new one put in its place - with developers coughing up £10million of the estimated £17m cost.

But concerns have been raised about where it will be sited and how long it would take to build.

Last week, Cala made the bold move of proposing three options for the Allander’s future - and sent out a questionnaire to households throughout Milngavie and Bearsden, inviting them to exhibitions detailing their plans and to indicate what their preferred option is.

The options are a new centre on the site of the former bus site next to Milngavie Road, a new building on the existing sports centre car park or leaving the Allander in situ and refurbishing it.

Building on the derelict bus garage site has been the preferred option - and the one Cala pledged £10m towards.

But East Dunbartonshire Council SNP leader Ian Mackay said developers must be prepared to say how much they would spend on the other options.

He said: “The questionnaire was entirely prepared by the developer with no council input and fails to address the most central question of all which is: how much will the developer’s contribution to the Allander be for each of the options?

“The Reporter’s decision on the Kilmardinny/Westpark Appeal only envisaged a transfer of land between the council and the developers and the building of a new centre on the former bus garage site.

“This was the basis of the £10m developer contribution to a new Allander – any other location is likely to be less. Until we have certainty on the amount of the contribution for each of the potential locations the council cannot make a sensible decision and could lose significant funding.

“I have written to the council’s chief executive asking him to get legally binding proposals from the developers on all location options. Once we have that, a decision can be made in the best interests of the council and public purse, but not before.”

Cala insisted the consultation will not determine the future location of the Allander – stressing that this is a matter for East Dunbartonshire Council.

However, a spokesman said it will assist the developers in finalising their masterplan for the site.

Steve Loomes, from Stewart Milne Group, said: “This latest consultation builds on East Dunbartonshire Council’s survey in March 2011 and provides the community with an opportunity to have their say on the future location for the Allander.

“As well as hearing from residents, we have also extended an invite to councillors, MSPs, the local MP and also to those who use the Allander to come along to one of the public exhibition days.”

The consultation will run until December 2 and people can register preferences by post, online at www.kilmardinnywestparkconsultation.co.uk or at Kessington Public Hall, Milngavie Road today (Friday) from 10am till 7.30pm and tomorrow from 10am till 1pm.