Fight is on to protect ancient woodland

Craigton Woods
Craigton Woods

Developers have submitted a planning application for 34 houses to be built in a historically and environmentally protected greenbelt area.

The plans for Craigton Woods, in Milngavie, were submitted to East Dunbartonshire Council on Monday, September 8 and CALA Homs.

They say they intend to provide 10 affordable houses within the development, which they claim is more than the requirements laid out by the council and will help issues with local housing stock.

However, residents want to protect the woods which are currently designated as a greenbelt area, an ancient woodland, a local nature conservation site, an important wildlife corridor with historic gardens and a designed landscape. There are also tree preservation orders in place.

CALA recently carried out a plant survey but Mains Estate Residents Association (MERA) claims that they have counted double the amount of species identified by CALA.

CALA’s plans have been submitted following their pre-planning public consultation in Milngavie Town Hall at the beginning of the summer.

Rona Hooper, secretary of MERA, said: “Most people have indicated that they are against this ancient woodland being developed. We believe it should be protected.

“The wood is rich with plants, trees and wildlife and we can’t understand why anyone would want to take this vital source of oxygen away.”

Part of the core path network also runs through the wood and was formerly the Carriage Drive to the manor house on the estate. The original Douglas Academy was on the site of the manor house and the owners were part of the Douglas Clan. The Douglas family was one of the largest landowners in Scotland at one time, after being rewarded for carrying the heart of Robert the Bruce on Crusade.

A spokesperson for CALA Homes (West) said: “As part of this altered layout, a larger central area of woodland/open space is included, increasing local amenity.

“CALA has listened to concerns from the community and recognising the importance of this area, took steps to make its proposals as sympathetic as possible.

“Our plans will safeguard the future of Craigton Wood by placing a strong onus on its long-term health, making it safer and bringing it back into community use.”