Angry residents have vowed to do everything they can to save a much-loved pocket of green space in Whitecraigs.
Locals are drawing up battle plans for the fight of a lifetime against a developer who wants to bulldoze Whitecraigs Bowling Club and build two three-storey blocks of flats.
Feelings in the area are running at an all-time high as campaigners accuse builders McCarthy & Stone of a “cynical ploy” to subvert the objection process at East Renfrewshire Council’s planning office.
They claim the planning applications have been submitted to ensure that the 21-day period for objections to be lodged have been deliberately timed to coincide with the start of the school holidays, knowing full well a number of people will be away on vacation during that timeframe.
Local MP Kirsten Oswald has given her full backing and support to campaigners, commenting: “It is disappointing to hear that Whitecraigs Bowling Club are considering selling the club to be demolished by developers. The health benefits of bowling are well documented and to remove such an asset to the community is not welcomed.
“I understand claims that membership is too low to sustain the club. However I am also aware that the club closed full membership applications four years ago. Given this information, it seems inevitable that the club would eventually close down.
“There appears to be a worrying trend throughout Scotland for members to sell off their bowling club in order to reap the financial rewards. I would not like to think that this is the case for the members of Whitecraigs.
“The council’s conservation report states: “There are limited views within the character area (Broom Estate) due to its enclosed nature. The bowling green and tennis club provide open space, relieving the sense of enclosure and allowing views across the area. It would be a shame for this open space and character to be permanently destroyed in the name of short-term financial gain.
“I have approached the council on this matter and been in touch with several residents surrounding the bowling club. I hope that we can convince the club members and local council of the merits of maintaining the bowling club for the good of our community. “
David Findlay, a neighbour of the bowling club for the last 16 years, said: “My family and I are very concerned about the prospect of the demolition of the iconic clubhouse.
“Over the past 16 years, we have witnessed the systematic destruction of local history, in favour of development. The fact that this building is located within a conservation area, established to protect our heritage, makes this all the more concerning.
“With the right stewardship, this original Broom site could flourish, in line with the Commonwealth Legacy, and retain a much needed amenity, to be passed on to generations to come.”
Local resident Jack Irvine said: “We will be examining the impact of such an intrusive development with regard to road safety for the schoolchildren. It’s already chaos in the mornings and afternoons and the coming and going of vehicles to the proposed development would be at a very dangerous junction.”
Another local resident added: “This development would mean my kids walking through a building site every day to school and thereafter navigating the additional traffic generated by 28 flats. All this into an extremely congested point.”
Steve Wiseman, regional managing director of McCarthy & Stone in Scotland, said: “Since we first announced the development, we have consulted with the local community over and above the consultation requirements required for a project of this nature. The submission has also been made in accordance with the guidelines and requirements outlined by East Renfrewshire Council.
“Although our proposal will see Whitecraigs Bowling Club close, we believe this provides a great opportunity to invest in other sporting and leisure facilities in the wider Whitecraigs area, through contributions from both the club and McCarthy & Stone. Further details concerning this, along with wider provision of bowling facilities in East Renfrewshire, are outlined in a report compiled by independent leisure specialists, PMR Leisure.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation and has helped to shape the final application.”