Row rumbles on over Jellyhill

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Local MP Jo Swinson has accused CALA Homes of failing to engage properly with the public over its controversial plans to build 135 new homes at Bishopbriggs.

CALA’s plans for the canal site at Jellyhill have met with huge opposition from the local community, including 569 letters of objection. East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board unanimously rejected the application.

However, the builders appealed and the Reporter to the Scottish Government granted planning consent.

Ms Swinson, who met CALA directors recently along with local Councillor Gary Pews, said: “At the meeting with CALA directors, I raised residents’ concerns about the density of the proposed development, subsistence, sink holes, and the impact of increased traffic, as well as the negative visual impact that taller properties could have on the environment.

“I stressed repeatedly the importance of proper communication and dialogue with the community on the proposals. The level of public engagement from CALA so far has been deeply disappointing, with only one public meeting just four days before the application was submitted. This is simply not good enough.

“More generally, the current planning system favours developers, rather than the local communities. It is vital that voices of residents can be heard, and so I will be writing to the Scottish Government separately to push for changes to the Planning Bill which would give communities the option to appeal further if there have concerns.”

A spokesperson for CALA Homes (West) hit back, saying: “As part of our ongoing commitment to engaging with the local community, we met with MP Jo Swinson to discuss the development at Jellyhill.

“We highlighted the community consultation that took place and the significant amendments made to the original proposal as a result of detailed analysis of the community feedback, which continued over nine months.

“This is an area of land that had been allocated for housing in the Local Development Plan and for which the principle for development is supported by East Dunbartonshire Council.

“We have seen unprecedented interest from potential purchasers in these homes from the wider community, with the site offering a multitude of community benefits including much-needed affordable housing.

“In our discussions, we also highlighted the results of an independent economic impact study that confirms a significant boost to the local economy. We will continue to engage with the local community and council.”