NOTEBOOK: Spin doctors paint dark picture of land earmarked for housing

Around 35 new private houses are expected to be built on publicly owned land in the Vale

NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY

Two pieces of public land in Alexandria are to be sold off for a £700,000 a private housing development by cash greedy West Dunbartonshire Council in order to make their accounts look more respectable than the mess they are now in.

The plots of land at Charleston Way and Wilson Street in the Vale are described as “abandoned and overgrown” by council spin doctors, who have done an excellent job of making them appear unfit for the purpose they are now earmarked for, WHICH IS HOUSING. Private housing.

Cynics might say that this cunning SNP move could have been made in order to deflect probable, some would say justifiable,  critisism that if the sites can be made suitable for private housing then there is no reason at all why they can’t be developed for council housing.

The council says the sites are “covered in vegetation” and will be transformed into a residential area by Bingham Homes and Co. Ltd, provided planning permission is approved.

However, this makes them no different from other housing sites such as the former Clerkhill convent school site in Dumbarton’s West End, which is/was also “covered in vegetation” before a bulldozer was brought in to clear it. Was there ever are there any prospective housing sites which was not covered in vegetation?

The council are laying on thick their criticism of this land and maintain that “around 35 homes are expected to be developed on the site, which is underused and has attracted anti-social behaviour including fly-tipping in the past”.

An update on the condition of the land was brought before the infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee of the council last week.

Typical council housing of the kind being built for social housing in West Dunbartonshire.

It is anticipated that the development will provide new affordable homes within the community — but they will not be allocated to people on the long council waiting list for social homes. And they will not be sheltered housing.

Remarkably, Labour councillor Martin Rooney is reported as having said: “I am really pleased to see this report here. This is an area of land that we have been talking about developing for a number of years.

“It links up the centre of Alexandria with Alexandria and Argyll Park. We have seen the care home and other houses being developed in Charleston Way so it makes sense to develop along the site.

“I think it works particularly well linking up that stretch of land along the railway land. I would be interested to know what size the houses will be as it looks like decent plots of land for the houses.”

The committee was told that a planning application will now be drafted and submitted to the local authority in due course.

Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration, would not comment on why his party had decided to give precedence to private over public housing.

Thirty five new houses would make a significant impact on the council housing waiting list, but that won’t be happening under the SNP.

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One comment

  1. Would have been ideal Central site for more sheltered housing which is desperately needed or new Council Homes.

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