Knock back for Scotus College housing plan

Scotus College, Bearsden.
Scotus College, Bearsden.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 28 homes on the former Scotus College site in Bearsden have been blocked by councillors.

Last week’s meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board saw the application defeated by 10 votes to nine.

The development, on Chesters Road, had been recommended for approval by planning officials, but a motion to refuse the application by Councillor Keith Small scraped through.

Concerns had been raised that the development was too dense for the area and that 40 mature trees would have to be chopped down, including a Weeping Willow - one of only a few that exist in East Dunbartonshire.

The proposal by WPH Development Ltd was for 28 properties - including the conversion of Chester House into four flats and the stable block into a single house, five new-build flats, eight detached houses, six affordable homes and two villas with two luxury flats.

Bearsden South councillor Keith Small said:”The main thing to bear in mind is this development is in the old Bearsden conservation area and there is a tree preservation order in force there.

“Fellow councillors agreed with me that the removal of 40 trees from the site and the density of the development was detrimental to what is a small but very important part of Bearsden.”

The SNP councillor added that he was not against developing the site in a sympathetic way and had no problem with the demolition of the old student accommodation block put up in the 60s, but felt the development, as it was proposed, would do nothing to enhance the area.

One Bearsden resident said: “We are very pleased that common sense has prevailed with recognition given to the over development of the site. The proposal would mean the loss of mature trees and obviously the council has recognised the impact this development would have in the area.”

The Scotus College site was purchased by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1984 and was used as a training college for the priesthood. It was put up for sale in 2009.

Steven Cullis, chairman of WHP Development Ltd, “We will have to wait for official confirmation of this refusal, but we will be re-applying for planning permission and will take into account the concerns of the local residents when we do this.

“In general we believe residents want this development.

“Hopefully we can come up with something that everyone wants.”