Community objects to new housing plans for former bowling pavilion

The bitter dispute over the area's 'last surviving' green space looks set to continue after developers resubmitted plans for the land.

Glasgow neighbourhood rebels against new Mount Florida bowling club housing proposals LDRS

A Southside community has said it will fight to save “the only greenspace at the heart of Mount Florida” after new plans were unveiled for a housing development on the former bowling club site.

NOAH Developments has asked Glasgow City Council for permission to create 32 flats and a community hub at the current pavilion.

An original proposal, which included 40 homes, was rejected in 2020 and then refused on appeal to the Scottish Government.

Since that application, the developers have bought the Carmunnock Road land from the bowling club.

NOAH said the new application will include landscaped open space and the proposed community facilities could be gifted at no cost to a local group.

However Nicola Smith, a director at Mount Florida Community Trust, said the trust will object to the plans as it wants to retain the whole space for future generations.

The developers have said the former bowling club pavilion could have a range of community uses, including for parents and toddlers’ groups, games nights, fitness classes and craft groups. 

They added the building will be “set in extensive community open space”, which could be used for informal sports, children’s play areas, relaxation, community gardens and yoga.

A spokesperson for NOAH said: “We are delighted to have submitted this planning application, which will see the redevelopment of the site, with half of it gifted at no cost to the local community and the current pavilion building upgrade to a new community hub, which can be used for a variety of local uses.

“The community will for the first time have direct ownership of these assets. We will continue to engage with the local community as we have done throughout the whole consultation process.”

The community trust and Mount Florida Community Council will submit objections to the plans and are encouraging local residents to have their say.

Ms Smith said: “It’s not about blocking the building of homes, it’s about saving the only greenspace at the heart of Mount Florida. If we lose that space it never comes back.

“Many people are saying it’s a done deal because they own the land now, but ownership does not give you the right to destroy greenspace.”

She added the developers are “not offering anything that isn’t the bare minimum required” and the trust will be asking local councillors to support its campaign.

Judith Pollock, chair of the community council, said Mount Florida is a densely populated area with a lack of open space and the city council’s strategy on open space says it should be retained where it can be.

“We believe it’s against the council’s open space strategy,” she said, adding a community council survey revealed 72% of respondents were in favour of objecting to the application.

The bowling club was closed in October 2019, with NOAH’s application stating this was due to “falling club membership and dwindling participation”. NOAH took over the site in February this year.

Council planners had recommended the original application, which received more than 600 objections and around 120 letters of support, for approval but it was refused by the planning committee following a hearing. 

An appeal was sent to a reporter appointed by the Scottish Government who upheld the initial decision, citing the design of the project was “visually inharmonious” with its surroundings, the loss of the clubhouse and shortcomings in the community consultation process.

The community trust had plans for the site, which included retaining the clubhouse and the southern bowling green and installing a tennis court and fitness area, approved in September 2020 but does not own the land. It is exploring community right to buy, which, if approved by the Scottish Government, would give the trust an opportunity to buy the land if it came up for sale.

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