ERC need to listen to local residents. I was contacted this week by a group of residents in Clarkston who raised concerns over plans for a new family centre and nursery between their street and Williamwood High School.
The proposed site, at Newford Grove, is expected to provide nursery places for 110 children, but residents are alarmed that the intended entrance to the new facility is too close to houses, and that the existing road is too narrow to accommodate the expected high levels of traffic.
An alternative has been suggested to planning chiefs at East Renfrewshire Council, adjacent to an existing delivery entrance for the neighbouring high school.
This, according to a local residents group, would be safer for children playing within the vicinity, present significantly less disruption and easier access to the nursery.
The alternative also provides more car parking, and improved access to the recreation ground.
The Council’s recent record on planning for new educational facilities is extremely poor.
They have rushed into wrong-headed decisions that have ultimately cost tax payers huge sums.
There is no doubt that extra nursery provision is essential for local families, and the residents of Newford Grove are aware of this.
All that they are asking is for ERC to look at every available option in terms of the orientation of the proposed buildings and access to the new site, and not to pre-determine or pre-judge objections by members of the community.
I have written to the council to ask that they listen to residents on this matter and that they release any objections on their website which, so far, they have failed to do.
I have also written to every house in Newford Grove, asking them to complete a short survey and outline any further issues they have with the proposal as it stands.
I will present the results of this consultation to East Renfrewshire Council.
Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill
This week, the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill came before the Scottish Parliament for a stage one debate.
I supported Margo MacDonald in launching this second Bill which I believe to be much improved on the one progressed during the last session of the Scottish Parliament, and I voted for it this week.
I believe that the time is right to consider making progressive changes in Scotland.
This is a matter which each MSP will determine as an individual and while several of my Conservative colleagues will oppose any change, I am persuaded that this Bill deserves to proceed to Stage Two where it can be subject to detailed scrutiny and amended to reflect outstanding concerns.
I note that the Bill incorporates significant changes, including a number of new safeguards to prevent potential abuse.
I have been impressed by the sincerity and thoughtfulness of the many letters and emails which I have received from all sides.
However, I note that the balance of public opinion is now changing in favour of a new approach in Scotland.