Westerton demands: don’t destroy our community!

Westerton garden campaign
Westerton garden campaign

MORE than 50 people representing a variety of groups crammed into Westerton Hall last Thursday evening to voice their concerns at East Dunbartonshire Council’s plans for the area under its primary school improvement programme.

Westerton Garden Suburb celebrates its centenary this year and residents were horrified to hear that Westerton and Colquhoun Park primary schools would be demolished under both proposals currently under consideration by the council.

The council wants to build a ‘super school’ for 500 pupils either behind the current town hall and library in Westerton or on the Colquhoun Park Primary site, with the vacated building being sold to a housing developer.

It’s feared that, if this proposal is approved, the hall and library could be lost as the village’s only nursery – which currently operates from the hall – would move to Colquhoun Park.

They also argued that precious recreation ground would be lost and the development would have a significant detrimental environmental impact.

Doubts were also raised about whether the already busy Maxwell Avenue would cope with increased volume of traffic if a new school, library and hall are built there.

Moira Salila, manager of Westerton Nursery and former pupil of Westerton Primary, said: “People are outraged that both proposals would signal the end of Westerton Primary in its current form.

“There was a unanimous feeling that each suggestion is unacceptable.

“We want our school to stay where it is and for our green space to be left untouched.

“If the school is moved to Colquhoun Park, an institution that’s been at the heart of the community for generations will disappear.

“Given that Colquhoun is on the Glasgow boundary, the disruption to pupils and parents would be incalculable. We also fear that we’d lose the hall and library which are a lifeline to so many.

“The prospect of building on the only green space left in the area is truly horrifying.”

Residents are worried that access to the hall and library in a new shared building with a school would be restricted due to security measures during school hours.

They also believe the land was originally gifted to the council for the ‘common good’ of the community, which means they cannot build on it against the residents’ will.

And people are angry about the way the consultation has been carried out - only 10,000 homes received hard copies of the questionnaire earlier this month, and they don’t understand why other proposals were simply ruled out by council officials without explanation.

To complete the primary school estate questionnaire online go to www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk, it is also available at East Dunbartonshire libraries or by calling 0300 123 4510. The deadline for responses is Monday, February 4.

Let us know what you think, e-mail mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk