Concerns over potential joint venture to develop Giffnock quarry site

Braidbar Quarry: The site contains huge underground caverns.
Braidbar Quarry: The site contains huge underground caverns.

A multi-million deal to build hundreds of homes on Braidbar Quarry has taken a dramatic step forward.

East Renfrewshire Council has decided to open talks with a Lanarkshire company with a view to creating a ‘joint venture’ to develop the polluted 43-acre site in Giffnock.

The quarry contains huge underground caverns, contaminated by Nickel, Cadmium, Zinc and Lead after decades of being used as an industrial tip.

Conservative Councillor Gordon Wallace, speaking at last week’s full council meeting, painted a grim picture of life in the Giffnock of the future if the “discussions” with Advance result in the construction of hundreds of homes.

He said: “Trying to get through Giffnock now is horrendous. You are talking 20 minutes to go from Eastwood Toll up to Morrisons. It used to be a two or three-minute jaunt.

“We are saying this cannot be remediated without 400 odd houses being built on the quarry.

“I have serious doubts in allowing this paper to go through on the basis that we don’t know how the local people feel about the quarry.”

He said he was also concerned at the disclosure that Advance had been involved in a toxic dumping case in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, for which it received a final written warning from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in 2012.

Environment director Andrew Cahill responded by saying he was aware of the Wishaw case but did not say why no mention of it was made in his report to the council.

He added:”I am aware of the court case and the findings of the court case and the SEPA letter. One of the first things that will be carried out is due diligence. However, all I am looking for tonight is the start of the process, of which due diligence is a major component.

“The report makes perfectly clear I will be reporting back to the council on that and other issues before a decision to enter any agreement would ever be considered by the council.”

His report advocating the start of talks with Advance was carried by nine votes to eight.

Two of the three Giffnock councillors, Provost Jim Fletcher of Labour and the SNP’s Colm Merrick, voted in favour.

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council said: “Advance Construction initially made contact with the council in early 2016 about the potential to develop this site.

“As this has the potential to be a significant development, these initial discussions have continued, as has been confirmed previously.

“As discussions have continued, it is only very recently that Advance Construction has indicated a desire to move to a more formal agreement in relation to the site.

“The paper approved by councillors on October 31 is the first stage in formalising discussions and could potentially lead to the council realising its ambition of remediating this extremely dangerous site.”