Eastwood Park has been confirmed as the location for the new leisure centre and theatre.
Councillors agreed on the site at a meeting of East Renfrewshire Council last night (Wednesday, June 26).
It means previously suggested alternative sites at Broomburn Park and Shawwood Park will remain protected green spaces, much to the delight of local campaigners, who fought hard to defend both parks from development.
Plans to upgrade or replace the current Eastwood Park leisure facilities were revealed in December 2017 when the council launched a consultation, with options including refurbishing and upgrading the existing facilities, maintaining the current facilities or building a completely new leisure centre and theatre.
The consultation revealed 87 per cent of respondents were in favour of a new-build facility – but that resulted in major concerns for residents in many areas as to where it would be built and campaigners fought to protect green spaces.
A new-build at Eastwood Park had originally not been considered possible due to the expected expansion of St Ninian’s High School, with council officers indicating there would not be enough room on the site for both.
But in October last year, councillors agreed to look again at the possibility of building the leisure centre at Eastwood Park when the need to expand the school was deemed not necessary.
At last night’s meeting, councillors on all sides agreed and welcomed the decision to go ahead with the new leisure centre and theatre at Eastwood Park.
Councillor Barbara Grant (Conservative) said once it was realised the council didn’t need to expand the school, Eastwood Park was the obvious choice.
She added : “This decision will be a great relief to many in the areas of Shawwood and Broomburn parks. Open green space is as much as tonic as anything you can get from a bottle.”
Fellow Conservative councillor Jim Swift said he was happy with the decision and congratulated the administration on making a “great choice”.
And Councillor Gordon Wallace said: “The voices of local people made it clear what they wanted and we tried to amplify that as best we could in this chamber. I’m delighted it will remain at Eastwood Park, where it should always have been.”
Councillor Stewart Miller (Conservative) said: “The council should have rejected the two Mearns sites a lot earlier and not frightened the residents. I’m delighted common sense has prevailed.”
Councillor Colm Merrick (SNP) stressed that no decision had been taken on the location while the council was waiting for information. He was also pleased to note that the existing facilities would remain in operation until the new-build was completed.
Councillor Caroline Bamford (SNP) said it had been a “lengthy process” and that she understood the frustrations of local people, and she too was delighted to see Shawwood and Broomburn remain protected green spaces.
Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “There would have been no point in us saying we could build on Eastwood Park when that was not the case. Due diligence had to be done first.”
Provost Jim Fletcher (Labour) said he looked forward to more detailed plans being brought forward after the summer break.