MEETING REVEALS CONCERNS
Proposals to build a nursery on land at the Westwoodhill Recreation Area have been branded “disgraceful”.
A packed public meeting led by Westwood Community Council saw angry residents call for the space to be saved.
Furious locals vented their anger regarding a potential rise in traffic and the loss of a green space and football pitches if the nursery is given the green light.
A campaign looks set to be launched to preserve the area with former East Kilbride West councillor Graham Simpson, now a Central Scotland MSP, insisting it will be a “slippery slope” if green spaces are built upon.
East Kilbride Central South councillor Collette Stevenson says “capacity pressures” elsewhere mean the council wants to build a new nursery but she plans to carry out a survey to gauge the feelings of people in the ward.
A spokesperson from the community council told the News: “In conjunction with local residents we have expressed major concerns around the council proposals for this vital community resource and the extremely short timescale for any consultation with the people who actually live here, who seem to be last in the queue.
“The plans go against the South Lanarkshire Council local plan and their own policy on protecting and enhancing greenspace.
“Taking away Westwoodhill green space will also do nothing to fulfil the Scottish Government’s aims on mental health and tackling obesity, where freeto-use local green spaces contribute an important role.
“Local people are also deeply worried about the traffic impact with potentially 210 cars coming into the area four times a day. We want to work with the council to improve the park for local people, not see it destroyed.”
Following the meeting, Mr Simpson slammed the proposals.
“East Kilbride was built as a place that would feature green spaces,” he said. “There are a number of other options for a nursery, and if anything they should be improving these green spaces, not taking them away.
“The fact that this is even being considered is disgraceful.
“Once you start building on green spaces it’s a slippery slope.”
Ms Stevenson says the nursery would accommodate 50 two-year-olds and 160 three- and four-year-olds and employ around 40 people.
She believes the access point will be from Lickprivick Road through the Westwoodhill roundabout but all existing trees on site would be retained once final designs and tree condition surveys have taken place.
The councillor is set to launch her own survey on the issue.
“As a result of Scottish Government plans to expand early years and childcare places,” she said, “South Lanarkshire Council have been looking at various sites to accommodate a children’s nursery.
“Currently, the Westwood and Gardenhall areas of East Kilbride have existing nursery capacity pressures, which is why South Lanarkshire Council are proposing to build a council-run nursery facility in our ward, with the edge of the Westwoodhill football pitches an identified site.
“I want to know from constituents if they think Westwood would benefit from a nursery, and hear their views on the location of the proposed site.”
Iain Hughes, who stood for the Scottish Greens in last year’s local elections, has called for the area to be left untouched.
He added: “It was clear from the meeting that most people want to stop their local green space being bulldozed.”
The council’s head of education, Lynn Sherry, said: “Should plans for a nursery centre at Westwood Hill be progressed, community consultation – including opportunities to look at and discuss plans at a resident roadshow – would take place, prior to the submission of any planning application.”
People want to stop their local green space being bulldozed.
Listening exercise East Kilbride Central South councillor Collette Stevenson wants local people to have their say
Power of the people Central Scotland MSP Graham Simpson with protesters at Westwoodhill Recreation Area