Ancient wood saved for future

A decision to refuse a planning application to build homes in an ancient woodland area in Milngavie has been welcomed by residents this week.

Cala Homes submitted a planning application last September to build 34 houses in Craigton Woods, but it was refused at last week’s East Dunbartonshire Council planning board meeting.

Mains Estate Residents Association (MERA) campaigned against the proposal which they argued would ruin the greenbelt area and prevent people from using it for recreation and walks.

The woods are also a local nature conservation site, an important wildlife corridor with historic gardens and a designed landscape. There are also tree preservation orders in place.

Rona Hooper, secretary of MERA, said: “We spent many hours reading Cala’s reports and submissions, and in our opinion, found many flaws in the proposals.

“MERA feel this is the right decision as the application went against the current Local Development Plan and the proposed new LDP, which is currently out for it’s final consultation.”

Councillor Eric Gotts said: “The applicant justified this planning application in terms of the council’s need for affordable housing and that some greenbelt sites would need to be released in the future to address this.

“However, any greenbelt site proposed for housing must be in a sustainable location and this site had already been eliminated early on in the process on the grounds of being an inappropriate greenbelt release.

“A housing development, as proposed, would have an adverse impact on the high biodiversity value of the site due to the necessary tree felling to accommodate the private housing. The natural landscape of these well-loved woods would be dramatically changed for ever.

“I was deeply concerned about flooding and drainage, the loss of much of this ancient woodland and the effects on nature given the lack of dawn/dusk bat surveys and a properly timed nesting bird survey.

“It was for all these reasons that I fully supported the planning services recommendation to refuse this application.

“A woodland management scheme to restore, restock and improve this woodland is now needed, not the decimation for a housing development.”