A hugely controversial housing development for Maidenhill on the outskirts of Newton Mearns, was given the go ahead by East Renfrewshire Council’s planning committee last week, and has led to vociferous criticism.
The scheme, which will create a new community, has been granted planning consent for 834 new homes including 209 affordable properties.
In addition, land and funding will be provided for a new community primary school – incorporating a nursery, along with sports and play facilities – and a community religious facility.
The development between CALA Homes (West) and Taylor Wimpey West Scotland claims it will direct significant investment in the area, with more to come as the new urban quarter is brought to life.
But locals who have fought against the decision for years claim that it will only exacerbate flooding problems in the area, and that by connecting this development to the existing water and sewerage network, the current problems will get worse.
Only last week The Extra reported on a six-fold increase on home insurance renewals which the insurers claimed was as a direct result of flood risk assessments.
A spokesman for the Newton Mearns Residents Flood Prevention Group said: “Despite the approval, we remain of the opinion the proposals do NOT follow national planning policy, nor the Local Development Plan. Notably, the developers have not demonstrated there will be no increase in watercourse flooding within existing residential districts in Newton Mearns. The developers have also not demonstrated there will be no increase in sewer flooding.
Managing Director of CALA Homes (West), Jim McIntyre, said: “We are excited to bring to life our vision for Maidenhill which has been carefully considered throughout this process”, while Director of Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, Willie Burns, added: “Residents will enjoy plenty of open green space and new schools, as well as existing local amenities and we look forward to works commencing.”
Jackson Carlaw MSP commented: “No local issue this year has prompted more residents to contact me than the proposals underpinning the proposed development at Maidenhill, the largest new-build community in East Renfrewshire in over a generation.
“The SNP Scottish Government demands that councils like East Renfrewshire, provide for significant new housing, irrespective of the capacity of the existing local infrastructure to cope.
“However, what is inexcusable is for the SNP/Labour led East Renfrewshire Council to proceed with a detailed planning consent for a development proposal BEFORE a satisfactory infrastructure plan has been either established or agreed. “Following representations to me, I wrote to the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham in support of the detailed submission sent to her by the Newton Mearns Flood Prevention Group. She was unable to arrange an early meeting to discuss, but in her response acknowledged that ‘important issues’ had been raised and that she would offer a detailed response after due consideration of these. In consequence I wrote to East Renfrewshire Council seeking a suspension of any decision until this response is received.
“I argued that to give consent to any scheme in these circumstances would be reckless. Yet this is exactly what the SNP/Labour led East Renfrewshire Council has done. In my view it is shameful and an extraordinary and unnecessary risk to the community.”
“I had hoped that as the party with the largest group of councillors elected on May 4th, a new Conservative led administration would have been in place and acted differently, driven by common sense. Instead we have the same old crew, who I am not confident will ultimately put the community interest ahead of the developers.
“I shall be conducting a full Scottish Parliamentary Survey of residents after June 8th regarding the development and remain fustrated that I cannot do so before the General Election because of Parliamentary rules.”
Former East Ren MP, Kirsten Oswald said: Kirsten Oswald said: “I have heard the concerns of local residents about this development over the past two years. I am clear that this development should not go ahead if it increases the flood risk for existing properties. I am pleased to hear that the new SNP-led administration has responded to local concerns by tightening up the conditions placed on the developer.
“The decision to use the opportunity of this development to reduce the flood risk to adjacent properties is a significant initiative by the Council, as is the need for a comprehensive agreement on sewerage with Scottish Water and the Council before any properties can be brought into use.
“This is exactly the kind of action the Council needs to take if it is to ensure that new development does not go ahead at the expense of occupants of neighbouring properties. The buck now rests firmly with the developer, who needs to reassure local residents by adjusting the development to meet these new conditions, or by withdrawing their interest from this site.
The application was approved by a slender majority of four Councillors in favour (Ireland, Convery, Fletcher and Cunningham), and three against (Aitken, McLean and Miller).