A major milestone was passed when, after months of preparatory work, LCDT’s Asset Transfer (AT) request for the Lochhead Avenue site was submitted to Renfrewshire Council (RC)on 26th July. This great news was on the agenda for the members meeting on 29th July which was well attended despite being peak holiday season. Receipt of the request has been acknowledged and we eagerly await word that it has been forwarded to Renfrewshire Council’s Asset Transfer Committee.
Feedback from all groups prompted lively and interesting discussion with lots of questions from the floor. Engagement with members remains central to the success of the Trust so along with meetings, emails and newsletters – both paper and electronic – we recognise the need for an increased social media presence and are taking steps to address this.
As mentioned preparation for the Asset Transfer request has been ongoing during the last few months. Since April we have had three meetings with members of RC, to present and gain some insight into the viability of our plans, to seek information and advice so that our AT submission was tailored to meet the council’s requirement.
During our last meeting with RC Fraser Carlin, (Head of Planning & Housing Services) and Sharon Marklow, (Strategy & Place Manager) we were informed of an offer made by Stuart Milne Homes, who have submitted plans for a housing development at Burnfoot Road, included in their plans is the Lochhead Avenue site for Social Housing, if they are successful with their application they have offered to construct a roundabout and lay-by if we agree to change the site for our borehole. Fraser Carlin was at pains to point out that the council is completely impartial when it comes to planning and Asset Transfer applications! However they advised us that Stuart Milne would be in touch to invite us to a meeting. Subsequently this invitation was received from Rydens who represent Stuart Milne Homes, they informed us that the Council directed them to the Lochhead Avenue site to build a Social Housing complex, they repeated the offer of building an lay-by for tankers and a roundabout if we sink our borehole at a different site.
We agreed we would take this proposal to the LCDT board, although we explained that it would be very difficult for LCDT to accept any financial support from Stewart Milne Homes.
We have now received an update from RC on the progress of our AT request. Papers have been circulated to relevant council officers and the Council’s AT Panel is waiting for their feedback. In terms of a probable timeframe, it is anticipated the application will be considered by the Council’s Community Asset Transfer Panel in September (at a date to be confirmed) and if approved, a recommendation will be brought to the next available meeting of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board on 6 November 2019.
The Lochhead Avenue site will only be protected from other interested parties’ plans if and when it is brought to the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board on 6 November 2019.
A number of meetings have been held with Ian Leaver from Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), who has been an invaluable source of information and guidance. A Board meeting was held on 22nd August and the unanimous decision is to focus on acquiring the Lochhead Avenue site.