Building to be sold off as business plan axed

Brookwood Library, Bearsden.
Brookwood Library, Bearsden.

The future of Brookwood Library in Bearsden is under threat after councillors voted for the sale of the property at last week’s full council meeting.

The council’s ruling administration scrapped plans to create a business centre at Brookwood Library to enable them to direct funds to the hub project in Bearsden Burgh Hall.

The project for a ‘one stop shop’ to access essential council services and a library under one roof is planned for implementation before the end of the 2017 financial year.

The Registry Office on Roman Road will also be sold as part of these plans.

Many local people, traders and the council’s SNP group have voiced their opposition to these proposals from the start, as they don’t want to see the loss of current facilities in Bearsden Burgh Hall such as Bearsden Primary After School Club, Milngavie and Bearsden Bridge Club and the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, which has held dances in the hall for many years.

Bearsden Cross businesses are furious, saying that an expanded hall will impact on parking space, hitting trade.

A Champions Group with five members was set up in 2012 to make sure the views of the people of Bearsden were considered, respected and acted upon.

But Alan Oliver from Bearsden, a member of the group, said: “There’s been a surge of bad feeling from the community about these plans from the start. Despite this we have never been consulted. We have never been listened to.”

He says they had one meeting in May this year with a council official who told them EDC was working on designs and costs and the group would reconvene when these were available for discussion.

Alan added: “I can categorically say there was NO consultation with users and the community through the official Champions Group.

“We were supposed to be part of the process. This is scandalous, unbelievable and of questionable legality. The people of Bearsden deserve better from their council.

“A process was agreed and the council have ridden roughshod over it with scant regard for the community they represent.

“This decision should have been postponed to allow constituents to have their say.”

East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of development and regeneration, Thomas Glen, said: “Following last year’s decision on the proposed location of the Bearsden Community Hub, discussions have taken place with hall users and other stakeholders regarding the proposal to incorporate the library within the hub facility at Bearsden Burgh Hall.

“The council has agreed to move the library into the hub complex, and thereafter dispose of the building upon completion of the new facility to release additional capital to further enhance the proposed new facility rather than develop for an alternative use.

“A series of engagement sessions with stakeholders have been held over the past year, including a Champions meeting in May and a progress report to this group in July. As we now progress the Bearsden Hub initiative, consultation and engagement with all relevant stakeholders will continue and a stakeholder session will be held during the week commencing December 1, which the Champions Group will be invited to once the details are finalised.”