Maidenhill Masterplan moves ahead in Mearns

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Plans to expand Newton Mearns using green field space at Maidenhill are moving ahead.

The site, situated at the top of Ayr Road, will have 450 new homes by 2025 and 620 to follow.

East Renfrewshire Council cites increased housing demand for the development, and consulted on its Maidenhill Masterplan late last year.

Using the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership’s Integrating Green Infrastructure (IGI) approach, the council has promised consideration for environmental impacts, including flood risk and retaining local wildlife.

Principal development officer Anne McAleer said: “The council wanted to seize the opportunity that Maidenhill offered to do something new.

“We wanted to provide mixed housing in a high quality, desirable area, making it accessible to singles, couples and young families.

“We wanted to do this without spoiling the environment, so we worked with the GCV Green Network Partnership, who advised us on how best to design around key landscape features, link them to new paths and cycle ways so that as well as creating somewhere sought-after to live, we promoted healthy living.”

Development is due to start at the end of 2016, and ERC points to the new joint faith campus — Roman Catholic and Jewish denominations — on Waterfoot Road as a community facility to serve the new area.

However, Conservative councillor Jim Swift maintains that Newton Mearns lacks the infrastructure to support the plan. He told The Extra: “Nothing has changed for the better. There is a demand for housing on the green belt. There is, equally, a desire for those who currently live here to be near the countryside to have access to useful amenities and services.

“Newton Mearns is already one of Europe’s largest suburbs, but has insufficient local health capacity, schooling, our roads are falling apart and the M77 is badly congested at peak times.

“The Scottish Government has recently demanded that the plan realise housing more rapidly than was proposed, so the pressure to get the new schools built is now intense or we will be unable to educate local children of primary school age locally.”