Milngavie and Bearsden told: thanks for the cash but you’re NOT a priority

AN admission by the council leader that Kirkintilloch town centre is the ‘priority’ for spending has angered residents in Milngavie and Bearsden.

They say Rhondda Geekie’s confession is further evidence that Milngavie and Bearsden are treated like the ‘poor relations’ in East Dunbartonshire.

Councillor Geekie said: “The council has previously invested in other town centres and it was decided that Kirkinitlloch was the priority at the moment.

“That does not mean we will be ignoring other town centres and we are working with Milngavie Traders Association to put forward a Business Improvement District (BID) application.”

But residents are furious that the council plans to spend £4.7million on Kirkintilloch town centre to restore the town hall and a further £1.5million to improve traffic, pedestrian flow, access and parking.

The debate was sparked by our recent report on the sale of the former council education building Boclair House, in Bearsden, for £1.5million.

The planning and social work departments both closed in Milngavie in recent years and staff were transferred to Kirkintilloch.

Land at the old Bearsden Academy site in Morvern Road was also sold for £25million.

Locals, who are angry about the loss of local authority jobs and lack of investment in the area, say more money should be spent on this side of the district.

Colin Scott from Bearsden is so concerned that he has submitted a Freedom of Information request asking the council to reveal how much it has made by selling assets and land.

Mr Scott said: “The council is on record as saying that Kirkintilloch is their priority.

“They are far less sympathetic about the future prospects for Bearsden and Milngavie primary schools which are the same age as Kirkintilloch town hall but in better condition.

“Their new community hub has just opened - the Bearsden and Milngavie ones won’t be ready for years.

“And where is the masterplan for Milngavie and Bearsden?

“Milngavie traders collected 2,069 signatures last year calling on the council to create a masterplan for Milngavie town centre and surrounding area but to date nothing has happened.

“Spending in Kirkintilloch appears to be entirely disproportionate.”

However Councillor Geekie defended plans for Kirkintilloch Town Hall which was closed by the previous administration.

She said: “It is the only hall in the town and we are currently seeking grant funding for it but if this is unsuccessful this project may not go ahead.

“Milngavie and Bearsden still have their town halls. Improvements costing over £200,000 have been made in Bearsden and Milngavie in recent years.

“Underpasses at the train station and Gavin’s Mill, Milngavie, have been upgraded and street furniture was renewed at Gavin’s Mill.

“New signage including notice boards and West Highland Way signs was installed, the Beer store was refurbished into a tourist information facility and additional business space and new paving was laid in the precinct.

“Bearsden town centre has been repaved with a reconfiguration of the street layout.

“Investment has also been set aside for a replacement Allander Leisure centre, community hubs in Bearsden and Milngavie, new schools in both areas and roads upgrade programme.”