East Renfrewshire council has offered an olive branch to the public after unrest about the potential sale of a park.
As seen in documents obtained exclusively by The Extra, the council has worked with the company who hope to develop on the Waterfoot site — Cala — to negotiate a substantial area to be used as recreational space for the community.
Council leader Jim Fletcher said: “This area of land is significantly larger than that lost in the original play park area. The new land will be provided for the sole use of the local community.
“We will also invite local people to work with the council to agree the best possible use of this land to meet the requirements of the community”.
Under the current proposal, the area of land lost will amount to approximately 2,600 square metres, while the new recreational space will be in excess of 5,000 square metres.
The council has also secured £150,000 to be made available for any enhancements which might be identified, in discussion with community representatives.
Councillor Fletcher added: “There are a number of ideas on how best to use the space such as levelling some of the land for recreational purposes, the provision of picnic benches, fencing or additional play equipment.
“We have listened to the community. We now want to work hand in hand with the community to identify what will benefit them most, and to compensate for the reduction in size of the existing playground, which will be replaced by new, modern equipment.”
The cabinet will meet today (Thursday) to vote on the proposed sale of the council site, however, both the press and public have been excluded from the meeting under Section 50A (4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
More than 700 people have signed a petition opposing the sale of the park.
Patrick Harvie MSP has written to the Scottish government asking for a ministerial call in on behalf of the Green Party — essentially asking for the matter to be referred to Holyrood — while SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell has written to Mr Fletcher urging councillors to vote against the proposal, as has Jackson Carlaw.
Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh has confirmed he supports “any action by residents to overturn this decision”.
Jackson Carlaw also criticised the Labour/SNP administration for hypocrisy.
He said: “At election time they are protectors of our green spaces but when it comes down to the vote they turn their face against our community.”.
n For more on East Renfrewshire’s greenbelt planning debate, turn to page four. Keep up to date with the news on ERC’s decision on www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk.