Bishopbriggs Residents Fight Development

Representatives of a campaign trying to save a well-loved green space in Bishopbriggs went to Holyrood last week (3 May) to hand in a petition to the Scottish Government and two local MSPs were on hand to deliver the message.


The proposal by developer CALA would see 135 houses built on land by the canal in Bishopbriggs to the detriment of wildlife, green space, putting severe strain on public services and infrastructure and despite concerns from the Coal Authority regarding historic mine shafts in the area. In March a developer’s appeal against the unanimous decision of East Dunbartonshire Council was upheld. This decision of the Recorder was contrary to the wishes of a record 569 people who lodged a formal objection to the plans and many more who have since backed their views.


The petition, which has nearly 3000 signatures, supports the wishes of a packed public meeting on 24 March that called for a moratorium to be put on the permission by the Scottish Government while the Scottish Parliament reviews how planning decisions are made in a new Planning Bill. This bill will come before Parliament in the coming months, and will consider how communities’ views are taken into account. The campaigners also handed in the last of hundreds of individual letters to Planning Minister Kevin Stewart asking for the moratorium.


Ross Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland and Rona Mackay, SNP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden met with Elaine McCauley and Gillian Monk of the Save Bishopbriggs Canal Greenspace group, and handed the petition over to Planning Minister Kevin Stewart.


Elaine McCauley commented: “The people of Bishopbriggs feel disenfranchised with the entire planning system. An overwhelming number of local residents and the entire planning board of Local Councillors voted against this development. The Coal Authority have on three separate occasions raised fundamental objections to this development due to the existence of a deep mine shaft onsite, local residents have raised concerns due to subsidence issues next to the proposed development site, only for the Scottish Government Reporter to overturn this decision based on his own opinion not necessarily facts. Under the current law the many supportive local Councillors and MSPs are now somewhat powerless to help their local community. The Government should heed the petition and the wishes of the local residents who will be affected by this development and delay the appeal decision until the parliamentary process on the new Planning Bill is complete. This will give us the same rights as CALA Homes and offer our community a chance to stop Cala Homes from destroying a much loved well used green space, ruining the wildlife habitat and worsening already overstretched local transport systems and community services.”


Ross Greer MSP said: “The Jellyhill campaigners did absolutely everything right and their case against the development is rock solid. I want to give the community every chance to fight this disastrous proposal and I hope the planning minister is listening. The fact that overwhelming objections from residents and councillors can be overruled in this way shows that the system is not fit for purpose and needs serious reform. It’s time communities had an equal right of appeal in our planning system.”


Rona Mackay MSP commented: “I pay tribute to the hard work of the campaign in standing up against inappropriate and unwanted development. I wish them every success in their continuing and determined efforts to protect the really special space around the canal.”