Planners urged to ‘stop and think’ over nursery

Lollipop man David Parton, Biggar'5/12/13
Lollipop man David Parton, Biggar'5/12/13

A campaign to get council planners to consider alternative proposals for a new nursery and family centre near Williamwood High was stepped up this week as MSP Jackson Carlaw weighed in with his support.

The West of Scotland MSP and Scottish Conservative depputy leader has written to East Renfrewshire Council chief exec Lorraine McMillan expressing concern that the original plans were to be passed as a foregone conclusion without due consideration being given to alternative access proposals offered by residents of Newford Grove, close to the site of the proposed nursery.

Mr Carlaw cited a letter sent to one resident in response to his concerns which, he says, appears to suggest a decision has already been made prior to a planning meeting scheduled for next month.

He said that environment director Andrew Cahill “claims to have suitably rebutted any alternative sites for the nursery entrance” in a response to objections by resident Graeme Oswald.

Mr Cahill writes: “...the council had already made its decision”.

Mr Carlaw added: “I am concerned that reasoned objections and well-evidenced alternative proposals have not been given due consideration.

“It is worrying that a pre-determination seems to have been made, yet the decision is not due to be finalised until the council meets in early June.

“Both the residents and I are in agreement that new nursery provision is vital and have no objection to the facility itself, but I ask that planning and environment officers keep an open mind and consider the impact that existing plans will have on the residents of Newford Grove.

Mr Oswald said: “The council’s response leaves people feeling disillusioned and with no confidence on how planning applications are determined. All we seek is to be treated fairly, in what should be a democratic process.

“The entrance should be made safer and easier for people to access, whilst not overly burdening the existing neighbourhood.”