Hub proposal places vital Bearsden after-school service under threat

Bearsden Hall'Bearsden Burgh Hall'Photo by Emma Mitchell'7/6/13
Bearsden Hall'Bearsden Burgh Hall'Photo by Emma Mitchell'7/6/13

Proposals to create a ‘community hub’ in Bearsden’s Burgh Hall could see a popular after-school club being made homeless.

Council officials want to turn the Drymen Road building into a ‘one-stop shop’ where a range of council services can be located.

But that would mean that existing users - including a range of clubs and societies - would lose out.

The biggest losers, however, could be Bearsden Primary After School Club (BPASC), which provides a vital service for parents by looking after 200 children.

The youngest are looked after in Bearsden Primary but older kids, from primary 4 to age 14, use the Burgh Hall.

Because lets of a suitable size are scarce in walking distance of Bearsden Primary, the council’s plan means that, if it gets its way, from summer 2014 around 114 children from 97 Bearsden families will be without after school care.

BPASC is angry that it has not even been consulted on the proposals.

In a letter sent to East Dunbartonshire chief executive Gerry Cornes, committee member Harriet Loud said: “We question the value of the relocation of council services without any new community facilities being provided and the consequent loss of the only large public hall in Bearsden.

“The potential loss of community-run childcare facilities is contrary to wider government policy supporting working parents.”

Customer Services director Anne Davie said: “The development of a community hub at Bearsden Burgh Hall and the refurbishment of Kilmardinny House are aimed at improving accessibility to services. Over the next few weeks, there will be widespread engagement with user groupsto identify their future requirements. The engagement will involve young people and community and civic groups in the area.

“As well as identifying the needs of user groups, the engagement will focus on the range of services groups want to see delivered through the community hub and the types of amenities which should be provided at Kilmardinny House.”