Fears over the future of a well-established children’s club in Milngavie remain after they were excluded from a protected area which would prevent future redevelopment.
The Time Out Club, currently based in Milngavie Community Centre, is attended by hundreds of children after school and during holidays. It has been running for around 30 years and employs several full time staff.
However, as the council is currently preparing to build a new community hub in Milngavie, no assurances have been given about the future of the community centre with many believing it will eventually be shut down and demolished.
The centre is also used by various other local clubs for activities such as dog training and gymnastics.
Last week, East Dunbartonshire Council’s Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets committee agreed boundaries for the Centenary Field area, which did not include the community centre or a nearby pond which is also used by the Time Out Club in its outdoor activities.
However, Woodlands Glade, which is also adjacent to the community education centre, was incorporated into Centenary Field.
Centenary Field was established in 2014, in an agreement between the council, Fields in Trust and the Royal British Legion marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.
It was intended to be retained permanently as recreation grounds, dedicated to the memory of all who died in the war.
Jo Winterbottom, one of the mums at the Time Out Club, gathered a petition and gained more than 500 signatures in just three days. She presented this to local councillor Jim Goodall minutes before the meeting.
Councillor Goodall asked if there was any provision to redraw the boundaries.
Councillor Jim Gibbons then tabled an amendment seeking a year-long delay to resolve the ongoing consultation on the Milngavie Hub, but was informed by depute chief executive Thomas Glen that this was an entirely separate matter. His amendment was defeated by seven votes to four.
Miss Winterbottom said: “I could see that it was a highly complicated situation. As the paperwork had never been completed for the Centenary Fields it turns out that NONE of this area was actually protected as we thought.
“From the new map, my main concern was that the Stalled Spaces play area had been removed from the designated area. I couldn’t believe that the council didn’t want to protect this very important space that is used by children every day.”
Miss Winterbottom continued: “I felt I had to do something so set up a petition and took to social media to raise awareness.”
Chelsea Ogg, who is employed by the Time Out Club, told The Herald: “The site of the hub is not that far from the community education centre but that does not mean it is suitable for our needs. The proposed design does not contain enough rooms for all the groups who would wish to use it.
“We have four managers who are in the CE centre on a full time basis, and there wouldn’t be space for us to run our holiday programmes in the new building.”
Milngavie Community Council, Milngavie Development Trust, the Community Education Centre Users’ Group and others are all participating in the hub consultation to help the council find a solution which best suits the needs of the community.
East Dunbartonshire Council depute chief executive Thomas Glen said: “At the meeting of the Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets committee on Thursday, August 29, the council agreed to approve the designation of Allendar Park, including Cloberfield Open Space, as a Fields in Trust Centenary Field.
“Milngavie Community Education Centre does not meet the Fields in Trust criteria to be included within the Centenary Field boundary.
“However, the Centenary Field designation is completely unrelated to the current Milngavie Hub consultation. That consultation has now been running since June 27 and has since been extended until September 27 to ensure that everyone within Milngavie or has some comment to make on the Hub has an opportunity to share their views on the proposals.”