Local plan changes prompt further debate

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IT WAS standing room only at a Newton Mearns community council meeting on Monday as residents debated plans to build a mosque on Eastwood high school grounds.

East Renfrewshire council has launched a six week consultation on proposed changes to its Local Development Plan, including moving a new religious building from an original site at Maidenhill to Eastwood high.

Councillor Tony Buchanan said: “An alternative site was put forward by our Muslim community. The community asked us to consider this site so it is appropriate for us to consult.”

Parent council members have objected, stating that the site was promised to Eastwood high, and that a religious facility should not be built on non-denominational school grounds.

The group has sent out letters urging parents to take part in the consultation, and organised a petition for Holyrood.

Member Grace McCarthy told The Extra: “The meeting was packed. We felt there was lots of room for negotiation, and that a public meeting would be beneficial — so that we can get to the bottom of the questions that still need answered, and come to an agreement that the majority of people are happy with.”

It is hoped that a public meeting will follow soon.

Shaukat Ali, manager of the Woodfarm Education Trust — the current facility used by the Muslim community — declined to comment this week.

Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh has shown support for the plan, commenting “the site at Eastwood high does not intrude on any school facilities and will in fact provide a new resource”

The consultation runs until Nov 20 — visit www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/local-development-plan or call 577 3001.