Quarry bid rejected

SFGS Huntly gardens GH
SFGS Huntly gardens GH

A PLAN to build 155 homes on the disused Braidbar quarry has been “kicked into the long grass”.

The controversial joint proposal by East Renfrewshire council and Macdonald estate to remediate the site and build housing has fallen through.

A combination of the financial climate and a decision by the government’s planning appeals reporter were blamed.

The decision has caused delight for one group of local residents and despair for another.

The Hands Off Huntly Action Group was set up more than three years ago in a bid to protect nearby Huntly Park, which would have been closed for two years if the housing plans went ahead.

HOHAG also voiced concerns about the “inevitable traffic impact which would emerge if 155 new homes were built in the area”.

A spokesman told The Extra: “The council have lacked transparency throughout this. It is clear that in this financial climate a developer would not be willing to invest.

“The plans have always been imposed by the council and now that this has fallen through, they need to work with the community and government to come up with a solution”.

However, because of the quarry, 19 households in Forres Avenue have not been able to sell their homes since 1988.

One such resident, Frank McQuilter complained: “Any prospective purchasers receive a so called blight letter from ERC which effectively prevents a sale.

“In 1997 residents were given an assurance that ERC would not abandon us as the old Eastwood district council had done.

“We expect them to honour that commitment. Narrow minded selfish interests have worked against this proposal which flies in the face of common sense and public safety”.

Speaking on behalf of Giffnock community council, chairman Hugh Moore called upon East Renfrewshire council to “find other ways of addressing this blight, 30 years is long enough for anyone to wait.

“What if part or all of the quarry does collapse? What plans are there to address this and who will pay for it?. “Whatever scheme is proposed for this Giffnock greenspace, ERC needs to ensure the community is at the heart of it”.

The reporter concluded that remedial works and redevelopment of the site would have significant adverse effects on the current uses on the site, and to some extent on the surrounding area.

Council leader Jim Fletcher is “still reeling from the unexpected decision of the reporter”.

He said: “This proposal would have brought this land into use for future generations and helped avoid the potential harm that keeps many of us awake at night.

“With a credible and workable plan on the table it is astonishing that a decision to leave this ground in its unsafe state would be the reporters preferred choice.

“The land at Braidbar is unfit for developing and is so unstable it is unsafe to walk on. I would strongly urge our residents to heed the safety warnings and keep out of this area”.

Macdonald Estates entered into a joint venture agreement with East Renfrewshire council to produce a solution for the longstanding problem of abandoned mine workings which produced land in danger of collapsing.

Managing director Kevin Robertson said: “Having developed a thorough technical solution and method of stabilising the redundant quarry over a number of years we are disappointed that we are unable to take the project forward.

“However, the reporters decision not to include the land for development in the Local Plan coupled with the lack of availability of funding have made it uneconomic for us to continue with the project at the present time.”

Now the proposal has fallen through, 800,000 cubic metres of water will remain in the flooded mine and more than two million cubic metres of rock and clay will be unmoved for the timebeing.

The quarry — which has been abandoned for decades — produced much of the grey sandstone used in Glasgow tenements in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

n What are your thoughts on the future of the quarry. E-mail gregor.hollerin@jpress.co.uk or contact us on facebook or twitter (@Extrasouthside)