Is Huntly Park a done deal in development bid?

Paul Drury standing for local council elections
Paul Drury standing for local council elections
  • Candidate criticises council over secret talks
  • Huntly Park is at risk from developers plans
  • Advance Construction Scotland refuse to comment

Fears are rife in the southside community of Giffnock that not only is Braidbar Quarry to be redeveloped, but Huntly Park may become part of the deal!

The issue is set to dominate the campaign for the council elections next month, with one local resident deciding to stand as an independent candidate on a “Save Huntly Park” ticket.

St Ninian’s is so over-subscribed, the council began restricting admissions earlier this year.

Paul Drury - Council candidate standing on a ‘Save Huntly Park’ ticket.

Freelance journalist Paul Drury only discovered the company’s plans by submitting a series of Freedom of Information requests to East Renfrewshire Council.

Paul said:”It is an absolute disgrace that the council has kept this scheme under wraps since last summer.

“I now have documentary proof that Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd have spent fully 12 months researching and preparing this massive scheme, liaising with the council as they went along.

Paul said it has taken Freedom of Information laws to tease details out of the local authority.

He went on: “This is a monster development, the equivalent of dropping a small town into the heart of a village.

“There is no way local roads could cope with six years worth of building work, never mind the hundreds of new cars such a huge housing development would bring.

“I am standing as a candidate next month to give local people a chance to register their opposition.”

No planning application has yet been submitted, though Mr Drury’s FoI request uncovered a detailed scheme for 320 houses for sale, 80 “affordable” homes and associated retail infrastructure.

A number of houses in Forres Avenue would need to be demolished to provide new road access and the Giffnock North Athletic Club would be relocated.

It is the inclusion of Huntly Park, however, which is expected to spark greatest opposition.

An email from the developer to the council in February this year states: “The masterplan would include the relocation of the existing football club, together with a diverse residential development comprising affordable housing, new open space and landscaping with the integration of Huntly Park into the masterplan.

“Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd, as one of the landowners within the overall Braidbar Quarry area have over the last 12 months carried out extensive research into how the quarry can be remediated.

“Through this process, ACS have established that in order to remediate the quarry in full, the entirety of the land including elements of Huntly Park will require to be considered.”

Huge underground caverns at Braidbar Quarry are the legacy of hundreds of years of quarrying for Giffnock stone.

The material was used to construct Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “All developers are entitled to liaise with our planning officials before potentially bringing forward any future planning applications. This process, where planners will provide information and any relevant guidance, is an approach encouraged by the Scottish Government for all councils.

“It remains the case that no formal proposal of application notice or planning application for the development of this site has been submitted. If in future an application should be submitted a process of public consultation would need to be carried out by the developer. The formal planning application process also ensures a voice for anyone who wishes to make a representation to the council before a decision is made by councillors on the planning committee.

“The impact that any potential development may have on infrastructure and delivery of council services would be fully considered during any planning process in the event of a planning application being submitted at a later date.”

Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd did not respond to a request for comment.