Cala cash blow for Allander Leisure centre

GV off allander'em'27/1/09
GV off allander'em'27/1/09

A CASH wrangle has plunged plans for a new Allander Leisure centre into uncertainty.

Developer Cala wants to change the way it pays the money it has promised towards the new facility.

Instead of stumping up £10million, as previously agreed, it now wants to peg its contribution to the number of houses it builds.

This could massively reduce its contribution - leaving East Dunbartonshire Council to cover any shortfall in the £19million project.

Cala Homes wants to build more than 500 homes on land between Milngave and Bearsden.

In order to do so, it has been forced to contribute towards the building of a new leisure centre - on the site of Allander Leisure’s current car park.

However, uncertainty over whether it can build on land owned by West of Scotland rugby club means it might not be able to build as many homes as planned - hence the reason the company wants to change how it contributes its share of the Allander cash.

Cala Homes also wants to remove a condition put in place by the Scottish Goverment Reporter to pay a bond which would guarantee the £10million.

Councillors voiced their dismay at Tuesday night’s planning meeting.

Councillor Keith Small said: “How can we deliver a large capital project when we are not confident of the developer’s contributions?

“We need to have a minimum guaranteed payment from them irrespective of how many houses are built.”

Councillor Ian Mackay said: “It could take Cala anything up to 10 years to build this development and they might not build enough houses to be able to give £10million.

“We could lose all the money. If we agreed this what we would essentially be doing is handing over the management of this site to the developer.

“It would go out of our hands and we would never get a new Allander.

“We are not changing the goalposts here, it’s the developer who is doing that.”

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We need to think long and hard about what we are doing.”

A Cala spokesperson said: “Cala Homes is making arrangements with the council to discuss payment structure in an effort to resolve this matter.”

The council received letters of objection from Bearsden North Community Council, Kilmardinny Westpark Action Group, Douglas Park Golf Club, West and residents from Milngavie and Bearsden.

Thomas Glen, the council’s head of development, said: “The decision has been taken to continue the application to allow further consideration.”