Proposal to protect greenbelt

EAST Renfrewshire council has taken steps to ensure that planning powers remain in their own hands.

At the most recent meeting of the council, recommendations for new housing options which will form part of the new proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) were unanimously approved.

An ERC spokeswoman said: “This will give the council full control over how it would reach its housing targets, established by the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley strategic development plan, and which would reduce the potential for external intervention from the Scottish government reporter”.

Council leader Jim Fletcher believes a lot of the criticism the administration has received from the public in relation to development comes as a result of the council trying to adopt a “solid” local plan.

He told The Extra: “If there is not a solid local plan, and if we are not open to development, builders will apply anywhere in the knowledge that the reporter has the power to overturn it.

“If the local plan goes in some way to keep the structure, then there is less ground for the reporter to get involved”.

This decision will enable the council to deliver 4,100 new homes – 900 affordable and 3,200 private homes, against an overall indicative target of 5,700.

More than 2,500 of the 4,100 homes to be delivered will be met from land already identified by the current LDP and from land with agreed planning permission.

The proposal will be considered by the council in the next few months and will be subject to a period of full public consultation thereafter.

Conservative group leader Gordon Wallace believes his party deserves credit.

He said: “ We are delighted to have been able to galvanise the support necessary to slow the development process on our borders to a more manageable level.

“We are firmly behind the affordable homes ethos but do not agree with this administration hiding behind the policy to justify wholesale slaughter of our greenbelt.

“It would have been ill-advised to push further. We are at the mercy of the government approved Glasgow and Clyde Valley strategic development plan.

“The campaign has been sufficient to significantly reduce the threat to the greenbelt whilst giving the Scottish government little opportunity to take us to task”.