A COMMUNITY group has been formed to oppose British Land’s redevelopment proposals for the Dougalston golf course at Milngavie. Love Dougalston has rallied against the idea of turning the local 18-hole golf course into nine holes in order to introduce housing, and recreation and commercial facilities.
But the group said it has been outmatched by the size of the organisation it is up against. A spokesperson for Love Dougalston said it is “faced with an uphill battle at the moment” while trying to protect the area.
The locals’ passion for the area is clear. Dougalston’s natural beauty was described by a local historian: “A mere eight miles from Scotland’s largest city, the verdant enclave of the old estate of Dougalston is a splendid area of green belt on the edge of suburban Milngavie. Criss-crossed by paths and walks that reach hidden shady spots, it feels miles from the ‘big smoke’.”
Some residents feel that additional shops and attractions could be a positive introduction as it will generate jobs. But Love Dougalston’s spokesperson said: “It’s the housing that people are terrified about.”
While British Land is proposing 100 affordable homes, locals fear it could result in ten times that amount. The addition of further housing could be catastrophic for an area where the schools are already full, and one that is not well serviced by roads.
In a recent webinar discussing the plans, British Land caused a fair amount of upset to those who care about Dougalston by describing it as “forgotten” and “an ineffective use of land”. Despite this harsh assessment, Love Dougalston’s spokesperson said that its members are “not going to stand out with pickets, we’re not that kind of group”. “We don’t want things to be inflammatory,” the spokesperson added. By keeping its narrative positive, Love Dougalston is celebrating the land it wishes to protect.
The group has managed to garner a lot of support so far. “It’s phenomenal – we’ve had over 1,000 responses to a survey we released,” said Love Dougalston’s spokesperson. “We’ve been inundated with people saying they want to complain.”
It is worth noting the group did not release a petition, rather a survey. The group is merely trying to do right by its community.
In August, the council is going to meet to talk about its second local development plan (LDP2), although it is thought this will be delayed until October due to the pandemic. This means British Land is yet to apply for planning permission, and nothing has been set in stone yet. The best possible outcome for Love Dougalston would involve British Land not making it onto the LDP2, delaying building plans by five years.
“We see longevity in Love Dougalston,” said its spokesperson, maintaining an optimistic outlook on the future of the group. Talking of plans to build and grow the community in future, the group is committed to running parallel with British Land.