Traders fear community hub plans could signal a cut in parking spaces

l'Bearsden Burgh Hall
l'Bearsden Burgh Hall

Traders are furious at the prospect of losing 26 parking spaces if the council turns Bearsden Burgh Hall into a community hub.

Bearsden Cross Business Association member Paul Smith, of Paul Smith Menswear on New Kirk Road, said: “The biggest issue in small towns up and down the country, including Bearsden, is the availability of car parking spaces.

“We are severely underprovided for commuters, workers, customers and residents.

“I think the council’s plan to change Bearsden Burgh Hall into a community hub is an utter a disgrace and not what people want.

“The proposal is selfish beyond belief when there are perfectly acceptable alternative sites for a hub - such as Brookwood Library.

“It’s not a good reason to kick out Bearsden After School Club and they need to be given an alternative location if anything happens to the hall.”

He added: “If we lose these spaces that’s 15 per cent of car parking in the area gone.

“East Dunbartonshire Council should be looking to increase car parking in the area as it’s a bigger issue and affects the whole area not just Bearsden. If there’s nowhere to park people simply won’t come here anymore

“This process of decision making without consulting with the people who will be affected is carefree and thoughtless.

“If they don’t begin to take heed of what’s being said then they will have no town centre in a decade.

“We are fortunate to have so many thriving businesses here at the moment when in many other towns about 20 per cent of retail units are vacant.

“We’ve bucked the trend, but the council seems hellbent on destroying that.”

Another trader said: “The council needs to address the parking problem in Bearsden.It puts people off visiting.”

Thomas Glen, Director of Development & Regeneration at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “In September the council approved the decision in principle to redevelop Bearsden Burgh Hall as the preferred location for the Bearsden Hub, together with further major investment in the development of a local enterprise centre at the Brookwood Library site and re-development of Kilmardinny House as an arts and events venue.

“The development of a community hub at Bearsden Burgh Hall and the future refurbishment of Kilmardinny House are aimed at improving local accessibility to a range of public services and providing an enhanced community resource for the people of Bearsden.

“The transport and parking team will be holding public consultation events in early 2014 to gain public input on parking proposals for the town centre.

“Future proposals will support town centre businesses by encouraging vehicle turnover and improving access to all amenities.”