No end in sight

THE Scottish government has refused a request by Eastwood’s MSP to speed up an application for an incinerator in Newton Mearns.

Ken Macintosh wrote to Derek Mackay MSP, the minister for local government and planning, to “implement a time limit between the pre-application consultation and the submission of the formal planning application of major developments”.

The request is in relation to the ongoing saga between the people of East Renfrewshire and Lifetime Recycling village.

With more than a year gone since the original consultation, LRV’s managing director Neil Gallacher assured The Extra a new consultation would begin in February.

However, the people of Newton Mearns are still waiting to find out whether an application for the controversial power plant will indeed be forthcoming.

It now seems there is no set limit to how long they will continue to wait, given Derek Mackay’s response to Ken Macintosh.

He wrote: “The Scottish government has no plans to introduce such a time limit. The existing arrangements strike a balance between involving communities, and providing a clear, proportionate system to applicants”.

Mr Macintosh believes this shows the Scottish government has “very little interest in local people.

“We as a community need to awaken the government and make them aware of how anxious we are.

“It is not acceptable to have this development hanging over us and there is no end in sight given current planning regulations”.

Campaigner Harry Stewart, of Loganswell Residents’ Association, was left unsatisfied by the minister’s response.

“Developers seem to be running the council and the government.

“Perhaps they should remember they are supposed to be taking care of us, not big business.

“Newton Mearns could be held to ransom for more than a decade. Our houses are of little value because of this threat. We are stuck in limbo”.

West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell defended the government’s tact on the matter.

He told The Extra: “The Scottish government has made improvements to local government planning regulations and the Minister has highlighted the importance of striking a balance between the planning system and the public interest.

“It’s up to the developer to submit these proposals; Mr Kilgour has clearly failed to do so and should walk away now.

“These damaging plans have been hanging over the community for long enough”.

Managing director Mr Gallacher refused to answer any of The Extra’s questions on the current status of the application.