MEET­ING RE­VEALS CON­CERNS

Con­cern­sraise­dat­packed­pub­licmeeting­inWest­wood

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Pirie

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

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