A TRAIN station could be moved as part of a controversial housing development.
Community activists have floated the idea of moving the Hillfoot stop in Bearsden north towards Milngavie to meet the needs of the commuters who are expected to move into the area if the bitterly-fought Kilmardinny project goes ahead.
Delevopers Cala want to build hundreds of new homes on land between the two towns. Their plans would mean the demolition of the existing Allander Leisure centre - and have provoked anger amongst locals who fear the roads network being swamped by an influx of new householders.
The Scottish Government has ruled in favour of the development - and has ordered Cala and East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) to sort out their on-going wrangle about who will pay - and how much - for the creation of a new sports centre.
Attention has now turned to the council’s stipulation that a new train station be built to accommodate those living on the Kilmardinny site.
EDC says it is committed to the creation of a new station, and that it is enshrined in the area’s Local Plan, but community activists from the Kilmardinny Westpark Action Group (KWAG) fear the developers are ‘going cold’ on the idea and say that at meetings involving EDC, KWAG and Cala, concerns have been raised about the ability of the Milngavie line to accommodate a new station because of the impact this would have on timetables - an issue which has been exacerbated since the Milngavie to Edinburgh service started.
KWAG is now suggesting that Hillfoot station could be moved north to accommodate the new development.
The group’s Keith Small said: “This is just an idea which is being floated. If you look at Hillfoot station, there are only 16 parking bays and there’s no scope to expand. People have to park on the streets round about.
“It is proposed that any new rail halt at Kilmardinny should have 150 spaces. However, concerns have been raised about the impact on timetables any new station would have. It is essential that if this development goes ahead, there is a rail halt, so to counter this we have suggested that Hillfoot be moved north. This would provide more parking and not increase the number of stations.
“One of our members looked at this and found that when the new Bathgate line was opened, Bathgate and Drumgelloch stations had been moved, so it can be done and has been recently.
“We have been taking part in a series of tripartite meetings with Cala and the council and we have been pressing the developers on the issue of a rail halt.”
Bearsden MSP Gil Paterson has spoken out, insisting that a rail halt must be built. He said: “A rail halt is crucial to any development, for residents and business owners alike.”
Thomas Glen, head of Development and Environment at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “Within the soon to be adopted Local Plan 2 for East Dunbartonshire there is a requirement for the council to evaluate the feasibility of a number of rail halts across the council area, including one linked to the Kilmardinny Westpark development site.
“Evaluating the technical and financial deliverability of this and the other proposed rail halt sites will involve engagement with partner organisations and local community groups.
“The matter of the rail halt linked to the Kilmardinny site has been raised in discussions between council officials, KWAG and the developers and the developers are aware that they are required to provide parking to support a rail halt, not the rail halt itself, as part of the existing consent for the Kilmardinny Westpark site.”
A spokesman for Cala said:” Any future proposals for the Kilmardinny site in accordance with the approved plans would include a reservation of car parking facilities for any rail halt provided by third parties in the future.”
What do you think? Should Hillfoot station be moved? Let us know by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a letter to us at 27 Stewart Street, Milngvaie, G62 6BW.