Cash fears raised for new Allander centre

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

EAST Dunbartonshire Council has “weakened” its position on a new Allander Leisure centre and left itself at the mercy of developers, it has been claimed.

Last week, the authority agreed to a scheme which could see house builders Cala Homes reduce the amount it pays to a revamped sports complex.

Cala had agreed - on the back of a ruling by a Scottish Government Reporter - to pay £10million towards the estimated £19million it would cost to build a new sports facility as part of plans to build hundreds of new homes on the ‘Kilmardinny Strip’ between Bearsden and Milngavie.

However, the council agreed to a deal whereby Cala can peg its contribution to the number of houses it can build and the amount of land it gets to develop - raising the spectre of a shortfall in cash for the new Allander, which will be built on the existing complex’s car park.

The move has placed a huge question mark over the future of a new sports centre.

Gordon Cox, chairman of Kilmardinny/Westpark Action Group (KWAG), said: “We opposed this application because we feel that the Reporter’s decision should have been final.

“The Reporter stipulated that £10million should have been paid, in two instalments of £5million.

“KWAG’s view is that the council has significantly weakened its position.

“It remains unclear how this will play out, but how can you plan for a building when you don’t know how much you’re going to get and how you’re going to get it?

“We are very disappointed at this.

“The Reporter reached a decision after long and protracted debate about this site and approved with very carefully considered reasons.“The council will now enter into a draft legal agreement with Cala for payments and this will come back to the planning board. We await to see this.”

Thomas Glen, the council’s head of development and enterprise, said: “An application to vary conditions on the existing ‘in principle’ planning consent was approved last week by the planning board.

“Officers will now seek to agree a structure with developers for the phasing of payments of the expected £10m for reprovisioning of the Allander and other developer contributions.”

Mr Glen continued: “The details of any such agreement would be brought back to the board for consideration and potential approval.”