Restaurant bid for church under fire

North Church, Drymen Road'Red light and thumbs down expect residents, for the restaurant project intended for the former praying temple'5th May 2012 'Pic: Roberto Cavieres
North Church, Drymen Road'Red light and thumbs down expect residents, for the restaurant project intended for the former praying temple'5th May 2012 'Pic: Roberto Cavieres

A CAMPIAIGN has been set up to call time on plans to turn a Bearsden church into a watering hole - complete with beer garden.

Residents say the quiet atmosphere of Bearsden Cross would be ruined if East Dunbartonshire Council allows the former Bearsden North Church to become a licensed restaurant.

Commercial Investment Properties has put in an application for a change of use of the old church which is category B listed, at the junction of Drymen Road and Thorn Road, to allow it to sell alcohol and have an outdoor seating area.

Residents have formed Bearsden Cross Action Group to oppose the plan, claiming it would cause parking problems, increase traffic in the area and put children who walk to nearby Bearsden Primary School at risk

They also say it will make the area noisier and increase the chances of anti-social behaviour.

Action group member Kenneth Lemond, of Thorn Road, said: “It will destroy the character of Bearsden Cross.

“Bearsden has a well established and widely respected reputation which would be at risk.

“We need to preserve important and iconic buildings such as this church within our community.

“It has been one of the central features of our village since it was built in 1888 and helps to shape the beauty and character of the area for us and visitors.

“If we allow critically aesthetic important buildings like this to degenerate into a restaurant/beer garden the image of Bearsden will inevitably deteriorate.”

Robin Paterson, also from Thorn Road, said: “A restaurant would destroy the surrounding quiet residential atmosphere of the area due to the noisy smelly pub atmosphere especially with customers sitting outside drinking their pints and having their type of fun.

“There would also be noisy cars and taxis and pedestrians at all hours of the day and until almost midnight. There is little car parking space inside the church grounds, and no street space for the taxis to sit and wait.

“The Thorn area is a beautiful Victorian suburb on the west side of Drymen Road, and if the permission is granted it would be the thin end of a wedge which would ultimately destroy the residential amenity of the area, as commercial interests would spread like a bacillus.

“There are already sufficient eating houses in the town centre, and perhaps too many liquor licenses.

“The group is urging people to object before Wednesday, May 16 - either write to Development and Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise, 2nd Floor, William Patrick Library, 2-4 West High Street, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, G66 1AD, or e-mail quoting application number TP/ED/12/0312, giving your home address.

“The phone number is 0141 578 8600, and the case officer is Alex Laidler. All objections received up to a day before the decision is made may be taken into account. If there are many objections the decision may be delayed.”

Robert Steedman, East Dunbartonshire Council development applications manager, said: “This application was received by the council on April 18 so is at the very early stages. It is currently being assessed by the case officer.

“Local people with a view on the proposed plans can find details in the planning section of the website and leave a comment there.

“Alternatively they can write or e-mail.”

Commercial Investment Properties were unavailable for comment.

See letters, page four