Action group angered as work continues on new Busby nursery

East Renfrewshire Council has been accused of ignoring planning guidance before beginning work on a new nursery at Busby primary playing fields.

Work began on 20-place nursery and 55-space car park on Busby Primary playing fields on July 22.

However, action group Save Busby Primary Playing Fields claim the council failed to consult sportscotland, the national agency for sport, prior to any planning application in relation to change in use of Busby Primary playing fields.

The action group has now submitted a complaint against East Renfrewshire Council to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) on the grounds that ERC did consult sportscotland as a statutory consultee to change the use of Busby Primary playing from sports pitches.

East Renfrewshire Council said that there is no legal challenge and work will continue on the new nursery as planned.

A spokesman said: “Following a third party approach to sportscotland, they informed the Council that they did not intend to take further action.

“Although this matter has been referred to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, we are not in a legal challenge situation and, as per the granted planning permission and building warrant, works commenced on site as planned.”

Earlier this year East Renfrewshire Council’s Planning Committee, approved plans to build a 120-place nursery and 55-space car park on Busby Primary playing fields, despite 166 objections.

The action group contacted sportscotland about their concerns providing anecdotal evidence and photographs of the site.

They received a response confirming that sportscotland should have been consulted by East Renfrewshire Council on the planning applications for the nursery development. 

In their response to the action group, sportscotland planning department wrote: “We have written to the Head of Environment at the Council to advise of our view on this case, highlighting both the detailed evidence that has been provided to us and to re-emphasise our role as statutory consultee on such sites and the importance of due process.”

However, while sportscotland were keen to ensure that the situation did not arise again, they were “minded not to take further action”.

A spokesman for Save Busby Primary Playing Fields said that the information supplied to ERC’s Planning Committee was incorrect, wrongly stating that sportscotland did not need to be consulted.

The spokesman continued: “It is scandalous that ERC have blindly gone ahead with building work when we are still waiting to hear the outcome of our complaint to the SPSO.

“Once the new nursery is built, this will effectively take away all the greenspace at Busby Primary playing fields. ERC have also failed to offer any alternative for the loss of Busby Primary playing fields.

“The school playground is already inadequate with the school roll over capacity at 305 pupils and the school already has the lowest playground space per pupil ratio in the area.

“We have also written to sportscotland questioning why they are ‘minded not to take further action’. What is the role of sportscotland if not to safeguard a sports facilities, promote and maximise opportunities for school children to exercise and play sports?”

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