Not fun and games

Waterfoot is “only the start” when it comes to building on local greenbelt, according to Tory council leader Gordon Wallace.

Last week, the planning committee were split on an application from Cala homes to erect 28 housing units on Waterfoot’s public park.

Labour representatives Kenny Hay, Betty Cunningham and Paul O’Kane voted for, while Convervative members Gordon McCaskill and Barbara Grant, as well as SNP’s Alastair Carmichael, voted against.

However, with Conservative Stewart Miller excluded from the vote after speaking out against the proposal, Kenny Hay passed the application with the casting vote.

The decision comes despite the site being deemed unsuitable for housing development by the reporter.

Conservative leader Mr Wallace believes building should be diverted to brownfield sites, such as the application for the west of Stewarton Road, for the erection of 101 houses and 57 flats, previously rejected by the council in September.

He told The Extra: “We voted in favour of this land being developed as it was clearly a brownfield site, with roads and services already installed, despite claims to the contrary by Jim Fletcher.

“Our views have now been vindicated with the reporter describing the site as ‘brownfield’ and ‘vacant and unattractive’ — something that could not be said of the childrens’ play park at the edge of Waterfoot.

“Waterfoot is only the start with the neighbouring 32 acres of greenbelt that lead up to the Glasgow orbital motorway together with Lintmill, Neilston and Humbie Road greenfield sites under immediate threat of going under the bulldozer”.

Council leader Jim Fletcher believes planning applications “will always have some level of local opposition.”

He said: “The whole point of a local plan means we have a legal duty to look at every application in a responsible and fair fashion — that’s what the planning committee did.

“The great danger in the Tories wanting to reject every planning application means every decision will be overturned by the reporter and the council would lose control over its local plan. 
“There is public opposition to all building in East Renfrewshire, but if you reacted to all opposition, you would never build anything.

“The planning committee took a fair and balanced decision and it should not be party political”.

The council cabinet must still take the decision to sell the land from the play area to the developer.