The Easdale brothers – James and Sandy – who are planning to build houses on the old convent site at Clerkhill, overlooking the River Clyde.

By Bill Heaney

BUSINESSMEN Sandy and James Easdale have acquired an “extensive waterfront site” at Havoc on the Clyde shore off the Cardross Road on the outskirts of Dumbarton.

The brothers’ planned development on the land brings their total construction projects to more than £400m.

The grounds of Notre Dame Convent and the former St Michael’s Primary School, which backs on to Brucehill, is less than one mile from Dumbarton town centre.

It has been purchased by the brothers, whose name has long been linked with Rangers Football Club,  for an undisclosed sum through agent JLL and will pave the way for a £30m residential development.

Zoned as a residential opportunity within the West Dunbartonshire Local Development Plan, the 13-acre site previously had planning permission for housing which will be reapplied for in due course.

An early indicative layout recommends around 100 homes comprising detached, semi-detached and terraced family housing.

Final plans for the site, which is contiguous with Craigend House, which is now a Carmelite Monastery, will be developed by planning specialist Barton Willmore next year.

Craigend was taken over by the Carmelites from the Sisters of Notre Dame, who ran a secondary school and boarding school there for much of last century.

The Notre Dame convent chapel, pictured right, has been a target for vandals and fire-raisers and is now derelict, is still on the site overlooking Havoc Park and the River Clyde.

Clerkhill is part of the former Ardoch estate owned by the Cunninghame Graham family and was owned by the m up to around 1912 when it was purchased by the Sisters of Notre Dame for their education project The Monument Park on the opposite side of Cardross Road hosted a memorial to Robert Bontine Cunningame Graham, the writer and adventurer, who became known as Don Roberto for his adventures in Argentina.

Don Roberto is credited with founding the Labour Party in Scotland and the Scottish National Party. HIs nephew, the late Admiral Sir Angus Cunninghame Graham, fought in the Atlantic convoys in the First World War and later became Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire.

Don Roberto – Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, whose family owned Ardoch Estate.

Sandy Easdale said: “The land has been primed for housing for some time and we’re delighted to secure the purchase and begin the process of its redevelopment. The site enjoys brilliant views in a great position looking across the Clyde estuary and we know that demand for quality residential property in West Dunbartonshire is high.

“We now have more than £400 million of residential and commercial development in the pipeline and we anticipate further acquisitions shortly.”

James Easdale said: “Planning permission has already been secured for our site in Glenrothes and we’re hoping we’ll be in a similar position at Spango Valley soon. We’ve formed relationships with leading housebuilders over the last few years on those schemes and this will prove invaluable when we come to develop this site.

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