A DISPUTE is brewing over the future of a Scotstoun park.

Bosses at Kingsway Community Connections (KCC) – an organisation representing the high-rise Kingsway flats – have accused On the Ball (OTB) Academy of “pulling the wool over people's eyes” in their bid to turn Danes Drive Bowls Park into a new state-of-the-art sports hub.

Earlier this year, the Clydebank Post reported on Ryan Docherty, a director at OTB and the man behind ambitious plans to redevelop the open green space into an all-encompassing football school for the area’s youngsters, which would include a 5G nine-a-side pitch.

In July, Ryan and OTB held an open day at the Danes Drive site to garner feedback from the community and address any concerns.

Clydebank Post: Kingsway claim their residents see the park as their gardenKingsway claim their residents see the park as their garden (Image: Gordon Terris)

Clydebank Post: Residents come to meditate and readResidents come to meditate and read (Image: Gordon Terris)

But Kingsway says they conducted their own consultation with their residents once the plans were known, and an “overwhelming” majority objected to the proposals – citing concerns about parking, the environment and the overall loss of an open space they consider vital to them.

Speaking exclusively to the Post, Beth Reid from Kingsway outlined why they will continue to fight the plans and “save their park”.

She said: “We are absolutely not against improving the health and wellbeing of kids through sport, absolutely not.

“We are totally for it as long it is affordable and in the right place.

“Kingsway have four high-rise flats, 464 flats in the high rises and a further 160 in the new builds. Some of them have gardens and some of them don’t.

“The responses we got from our survey, and I am not trying to be overdramatic, literally said, ‘this park, having this solitude, having this safe space during the pandemic saved my life. I have been using this park ever since then to come and meditate, think and read’.

“These are the kind of stories that people are telling us. This is their garden; this is their home. This is where they go to do the things that other people do in their gardens, and it’s true.

“We see it every day after work.

“The fact that this space is being called unused just blows our mind. Every day we leave work at five, six, seven o’clock and there are people, no matter the weather, using it.”

Clydebank Post: Kingsway say they heard an overwhelming objection to the OTB plansKingsway say they heard an overwhelming objection to the OTB plans (Image: Gordon Terris)

Clydebank Post: Kingsway say they look after hundreds of familiesKingsway say they look after hundreds of families (Image: Gordon Terris)

Directors at Kingsway have told the Post they will be “formally objecting to the proposal” after 142 of the 163 respondents to their consultation said they were against the bid.

Ms Reid added she fears a lot of the local community would be unable to afford the fees OTB plan to charge and accused the football school of pricing deprived families out of using the space.

They say a petition launched already has 244 signatures and will eventually be submitted to People Make Glasgow Communities – the body tasked with making a decision on the space.

Ms Reid went on: “We are here to literally represent the best interests of our community, we are not here for any other alternative motive.

“It’s not because we just don’t like it, it’s because people have told us they don’t want it.”

However, Ryan Docherty defended the plans for the academy, which he claims would include one thousand hours of free football for local kids in G12 and G13.

He told the Post: “Our passion lies in ensuring that every child in the community has equitable access to opportunities that enrich their lives through engagement in multi-sport activities.

“By revitalising this underutilized space, we aim to create an inclusive environment where children can thrive, promoting not only physical fitness but also mental well-being.

“Through our partnership with local authorities and other community organisations and our dedication to empowering the younger generation, we are determined to transform this neglected space into a vibrant hub of positive community engagement and growth.”

Mr Docherty went on to say it was his group’s intention to “enhance” the green space, not reduce it by 50 per cent as Kingsway claim and added the park is not “attractive” for young people and families at the moment due to years of misuse and a lack of investment.

“We understand from years of experience working in the area that the park is underutilised and local people have raised concerns with using the park due to lack of lighting and crime,” he added.

“Our objective is to enhance its accessibility and inclusivity and make it an attractive space for all local residents to use.

“Our intention is to ensure that the park remains versatile and accommodating to a diverse range of uses, enabling people from all walks of life to fully engage and enjoy its offerings.”

He added: “Regrettably, there seems to have been some miscommunication by KCC, misleading local residents into believing that our facility won't be freely accessible.

“To provide accurate information, we want to clarify that our facility will indeed be open to local residents free of charge for 40 per cent of the week.”

Clydebank Post: OTB say they want to enhance the open space and give the kids free footballOTB say they want to enhance the open space and give the kids free football (Image: Tom Grant)

Clydebank Post: Mr Docherty says he just wants to bring sports to a deprived areaMr Docherty says he just wants to bring sports to a deprived area (Image: Tom Grant)

Ms Reid at KCC believes OTB are speaking as if they are already the tenants of the Danes Drive site, and fears this is having an unjust influence on some people.

She added: “When we have spoken to people and we have said it’s not been decided, you’ve still got your chance to have your voice in this, people have really strongly objected.

“So, us doing our engagement was really important otherwise I think people would have had the wool pulled over their eyes, unfortunately.

“On the Ball should have a home, but Danes Drive Park isn’t it.

“It’s just not a suitable space for it.”

Clydebank Post: Residents say the will fight to 'save their park'Residents say the will fight to 'save their park' (Image: Gordon Terris)

Clydebank Post: The decision will now be passed to People Make Glasgow Communities who will decide upon its futureThe decision will now be passed to People Make Glasgow Communities who will decide upon its future (Image: Gordon Terris)