Political storm over investment made in Bishopbriggs town centre

Bishopbriggs Library
Bishopbriggs Library

An SNP councillor has slammed the decision to “water down” plans for Bishopbriggs town centre.

At a recent budget meeting last night (March 17) Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors voted to change the council’s capital investment programme, slashing the budget for a new community hub in the town from £5.6million down to £2.1million.

The hub will now be withing the existing library, rather than in a revamped building as was previously planned.

Councillor Anne McNair called the move a “complete betrayal” to the people of Bishopbriggs.

But administration councillors defended the move, insisting it was part of a number of projects designed to improve Bishopbriggs for residents.

Councillor McNair said: “Previous plans for a new Hub have now been abandoned and we are told that the council will instead provide a new Hub within a refurbished Bishopbriggs library, similar to the conversion of the William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch.

“The comparison is a farce. Kirkintilloch hub was an internal conversion to a substantial three storey building.

“There is no scope for any such conversion at Bishopbriggs library which is a much smaller building and, worryingly, the only land available for any possible extension is ground to the front of the existing library building.

“Bishopbriggs has been sold short. While the sums are huge, any comparison with similar projects in East Dunbartonshire’s ten year capital budget only makes matters worse.”

East Dunbartonshire Council has just opened a brand new council hub in Lennoxtown at a cost of £5.25 million.

Hubs are also planned for Bearsden and Milngavie, with a combined budget of £7million.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie defended the decision, saying: “The people of Bishopbriggs have waited long enough for investment because of the delayed Morrison development.

“This administration are proposing immediate investment in the library and hall of three million pounds and another two million pounds of future work in the town so how can that can be described as letting people down?

“That is on top of the money for a new school, Huntershill sports development and early years project in Auchinairn.

“Our capital projects have been a positive outcome whilst our revenue grant has been slashed by this SNP Government leading to difficult cuts.”

Meanwhile council depute leader Billy Hendry added: “There have been exhausted attempts by the council to move the 2011 plan forward.

“Clearly, a standalone hub facility is not going to be built anytime soon, therefore action had to be taken to revise the plans.

“Using our current council assets together with major improvements, will deliver a better Town Centre in the shorter term.

“Bishopbriggs residents deserve improvements in their town centre and this decision will start that process. The SNP have missed an opportunity here as their plans could see further impasse on this important issue.”