Time to abandon the plan for quarry site

Paul Drury on site
Paul Drury on site

A Giffnock greenbelt campaigner is demanding a final end to a controversial homes plan for dangerous and contaminated Braidbar Quarry.

Local man Paul Drury, who campaigned on the issue in the May council elections, says the decades-old blight to the area can never be fixed until potential developer Advance formally abandons its plans for the site.

As reported in recent editions the former quarry site in the heart of residential Giffnock, is riddled with old mine workings.

A large area is dangerous and fenced off, numerous local homes are “blighted” and effectively unsaleable, and in addition the land is contaminated.

An earlier plan by builder Macdonald to fix the problem in exchange for permission to build homes fell through at the onset of the recession.

One estimate of the likely cost to make the site safe and viable is £112 million.

His comments come in response to a rallying call from ex-Provost and former councillor Allan Steele, who in the Extra made an impassioned plea for the council to pro-actively tackle a problem he fears risks becoming permanently ignored.

Since then Mr Steele has again urged the council to perform its duty, as he sees it, and work to achieve a solution.

This week Paul Drury, following on from earlier reports in the Extra, said: “Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd say they have spent over £275,000 preparing plans for 400 homes on the quarry and adjoining Huntly Park.

”Logical debate on this issue cannot take place until local residents are relieved of this monster scheme which is hanging over their heads.

“Allan Steele and others should ask themselves this: if this proposed development is so suitable for the area, why are no other house builders lining up to compete with Advance?

“MacTaggart and Mickel and Cala Homes have been behind thousands of new homes in East Renfrewshire in recent years.

“Why are they not launching rival schemes for what is one of the most desirable areas?

“The reason is the pollution which has been lying below the surface for decades.

“Up until the late 1960s, waste products from Parkhead Forge were being dumped on a daily basis at Braidbar Quarry, along a special railway line constructed from Giffnock Station.

“Advance have admitted there is a cocktail of chemicals down below, including heavy metals, like zinc, cadmium, nickel and lead.

“Why is it Advance seem to be the only company which thinks it can overcome this huge environmental challenge and present a safe and clean solution for local residents?”

He also called into question the council’s attitude to nearby Huntly Park, and fears it could be threatened by some future plan from Advance.

Mr Drury added: “Finally, we need to ask local politicians where they stand on this.

“Many of them were quick to jump on the bandwagon during the election campaign, saying I was not the only one opposed to this scheme.

“And since then? Not a lot. While we await a formal planning application, which will spark a campaign of opposition this area has never before seen, I suggest local people should be asking their newly-elected councillor to make their feelings known – and public.

“Only after this dreadful scheme is put to bed can we begin to examine the future of Braidbar Quarry.”

The Extra asked Advance to comment but received no response.