Maidenhill Farm gets the go ahead

Artist impression of Maidenhill Farm
Artist impression of Maidenhill Farm

A legal challenge to prevent the controversial development of more than 800 homes in Newton Mearns has been rejected by the Court of Session.

The CALA Homes and Taylor Wimpey project at Maidenhill Farm is set to deliver 834 new homes, a new primary school and a number of community facilities.

Colette Patton, of the Newton Mearns Residents Flood Prevention Group, took East Renfrewshire Council to the Court of Session last year for a judicial review of the authority’s decision to grant permission for the development.

Concerns were raised that an existing flooding problem will be greatly exacerbated by the new homes and that the report to the council’s planning committee was inaccurate.

But in a written judgment, Lord Glennie ruled East Renfrewshire Council acted in accordance with the law.

He wrote: “It was not seriously in dispute that there is a well-recognised and long-standing risk of flooding in Newton Mearns, Mearns Village, and the surrounding area. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has designated Newton Mearns a potentially vulnerable area as part of the wider White Cart Catchment. This fact is a material part of the background to the dispute presently before the court.”

He added: “I am satisfied that the committee had before it all relevant material. The report adequately summarised that material. I do not find it established that the committee was misled, either because the report omitted relevant material or because it was misleading in any way.

“Nor was its decision irrational. It seems to me the case for the petitioner amounts, in substance, to a disagreement with the decision taken by the committee in granting the planning application. It is well established that the court cannot interfere on that basis.

“Provided the committee is properly informed of the issues, of the material, and of the planning law and guidance to be followed, the court will not interfere simply because there is an argument, however honestly pursued, that it should have arrived at a different decision.

“I am far from persuaded that its decision was wrong, but even if it was, that would not be a basis for interfering.”

A spokesman for the Newton Mearns Residents FloodPrevention Group said: “NMRFPG cannot comment on the recent private court action in relation to Maidenhill Farm. NMRFPG was not party to this action.

“The group has concerns in relation to potential flood risk from any new development when it has not been demonstrated that there is adequate offsite drainage capacity.”

CALA Homes and Taylor Wimpey have indicated their intention to complete the development by August 2019.