Opposition grows to Bearsden Burgh Hall hub plans

Bearsden Burgh Hall, parking'Photo by Emma Mitchell'18/12/13
Bearsden Burgh Hall, parking'Photo by Emma Mitchell'18/12/13

Controversial plans to turn Bearsden Burgh Hall into a ‘community hub’ have again come under fire - this time from a country dance group.

East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) is pushing on with its cost-saving scheme to transform the well used facility into a ‘one stop shop’ for council services, including the library.

The plans have been opposed by hall users, including Bearsden Primary After School Club, Bearsden traders and the council’s SNP group.

They were joined by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, which has been holding dances in the hall for many years. The group says it may have to stop meeting in Bearsden and claims it was never consulted on the plans.

A spokesperson said: “Given that we we have been such frequent users over ment years, why have we not been included in any consultation?”

Milngavie and Bearsden Bridge Club also says it was also not included in what EDC has claimed was a comprehensive consultation, and the Herald understands other groups are in the same position.

As part of its centralisation plans, EDC intends to close the Roman Road registry office, create an ‘enterprise centre’ in Brookwood House, which currently houses the library, and turn Kilmardinny House into a wedding venue.

However, it is the plans for Bearsden Burgh Hall which have drawn most fire.

Amongst the biggest losers could be the after school club, and the parents who rely on it so they can go to work. It could struggle to find an alternative, suitable let for the 100 or so children it looks after.

Bearsden Cross businesses are furious, saying that an expanded hall will impact on parking space, hitting trade.

Last week, SNP group leader Councillor Ian Mackay called the plans “disastrous.”

Council Leader,Rhondda Geekie said: “In developing a Community Hub, the council is committed to limiting the disruption to groups who currently use the building.

“We value the important role that these groups play in community life and that is why we have embarked on a thorough and wide reaching programme of engagement. We have listened to views, concerns and aspirations.

“Last November we held eight workshops to which all regular users of the Burgh Hall, Kilmardinny House and Brookwood were invited. Sixty-four representatives from 22 organisations took part, providing us with a clear picture of their needs.

“The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society hold a serial let for Westerton Hall with only occasional use of Bearsden Burgh Hall. They were therefore not part of the earlier engagement but we are happy to accept written submissions from them.”

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