Bowling club is saved – but for how long?

Protestors pictured last year at the location of the proposed development.
Protestors pictured last year at the location of the proposed development.

A planned development for the leafy Whitecraigs area which would have bulldozed a historic building has been thwarted by local objectors.

McCarthy & Stone had done a deal with Whitecraigs Bowling Club members to sell their land for a healthy profit if planning authorities granted consent for the planned multi-storey flats.

As a result of the protest group and other objections being raised by Historic Environment Scotland among others, the developers have pulled out for the meantime.

Local resident Jack Irvine spoke to the Extra saying: “I feel desperately sorry for the ordinary, decent members of the bowling club who were fooled into thinking that although they were losing their beloved club they would be in line for a huge windfall.

“Not only is there no sign of this mythical windfall but it appears the committee have abrogated all responsibility for the 2017 season and there will therefore be no bowling activity.

“This is a tragedy for the members who loved the companionship and social side of the club and presumably now, if they want a game of bowls, they have to travel elsewhere to an unfamiliar club.”

East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald, who had also spoken out against the plans, said: “Congratulations are due to the local residents of the Broom Estate who have fought very hard to prevent the demolition of this iconic structure, and the loss of the open space at the entrance to this estate.

“While the decision to withdraw the applications is welcome, it is shameful that it took nearly six months for the developer to consider that a serious effort should be made to preserve the pavilion and its surrounding open space.

“McCarthy and Stone’s decision to maintain uncertainty over the future of the building should be reversed as soon as possible.”

Campbell Purves, senior planning associate at The Planning Bureau, wrote to East Renfrewshire Council on behalf of his clients McCarthy & Stone.

He said: “After due consideration the applicants wish to request that both applications are hereby withdrawn.

“It is the applicants intention to submit a revised scheme in the new year which takes account of the issues raised.”

A spokesperson for McCarthy & Stone added: “We have withdrawn the planning application following discussions with East Renfrewshire Council and other statutory consultees.

“We will continue to review opportunities within the local area, including the bowling club site, to develop specialist retirement housing to meet the needs of older people.

“Our analysis shows a strong need for sheltered housing in the area.”

Broom Estate residents are rightly enjoying their victory, but know there could be further skimishes ahead if the developers return with new plans for the site.

The protest group’s petition page will be updated regularly with news at: https://www.change.org/p/kenny-hay-eastrenfrewshire-gov-uk-save-the-old-broom-estate-from-development-disaster.