Councillors clash over Drymen Road plans

Teh building that would have been demolished under the plans
Teh building that would have been demolished under the plans

Plans to build a new nursery, private flats with parking and additional temporary accomodation for homeless people at Bearsden have been rejected.

Despite being supported by East Dunbartonshire Council officers in education, roads, housing, community protection, a tree expert and the Care Commission, the new development at 48 and 50 Drymen Road was turned down by 10 votes to 5 at a meeting of the council’s planning board last week.

Bearsden South Councillor Vaughan Moody (LibDem) moved the board refuse the proposal by 
developers Showproof Ltd, seconded by fellow Bearsden South Councillor Andrew Polson 

Councillor Moody described the application to demolish the current building and rebuild as “a case of overdevelopment”.

But after putting forward an amendment at the meeting that it be approved, Milngavie Councillor Jim Gibbons (SNP) said it will be “tragic” if the development does not go ahead on appeal.

Councillor Moody added: “I moved that the planning board refuse this application because of its scale and mass, combined with a design that is out of keeping with the character and appearance of Old Bearsden Conservation Area.

“The development failed to deal with the extra parking and traffic generated by the scheme. For example parents of nursery pupils would have to drop off their children in lay-bys on busy Drymen Road and West Chapelton Avenue.

“The homeless unit would more than double in size but have the parking spaces removed. These changes would add to the problems of parking and traffic that the area is already suffering.

“This is a case of overdevelopment. An illustration of this is the plan required removal of 24 out of 28 trees on the site.”

But Councillor Jim Gibbons (SNP) said: “The planning report recommended that councillors grant the application for flats, new nursery and fit for purpose homeless unit. The existing building has little architectural merit and brings the whole area down.

“I believe the new buildings would improve the area and complement the building on the other side of the road and this has happened in other parts of conservation areas.

“While not a planning matter, I think it will be tragic if this new nursery, flats, and homeless unit do not get the go ahead if the applicant chooses to appeal the decision of the planning board.”

EDC’s housing officers advised the board parking spaces for the temporary accommodation were “sufficient”.

In a report to the board, council officers said there was a growing need for short-term accommodation and the 15 local authority temporary housing units would provide a “much needed resource which will serve the community within which it is located.”

The homeless unit was established more than a decade ago, and has six units .

Atotal of 48 underground car parking spaces were to be included in the plans for office and nursery staff, and the 17 new private flats. Council officers said the loss of trees would be offset with a new landscaping scheme and the plan had been amended to retain the majority of trees covered by the tree protection order. They also considered the development would not adversely affect the conservation area.