Mearns in ruins?

“East Renfrewshire residents should act now if they like where they live”.

That’s the opinion of East Renfrewshire opposition leader Jim Swift prior to the end of a consultation on a proposal which, if approved, could see housing in the area balloon by almost 20 per cent.

The Main Issues Report (MIR) consultation lists a number of options, all which threaten to build on greenbelt.

Councillor Swift pleaded to local residents: “We have schools that are already full, roads that are already congested and need resurfacing and only a small primary school proposed for Maidenhill. Our creaky infrastructure will not cope.

“I shudder to think what will happen if the 3,000 homes already approved get built, never mind this proposal.

“The council rejected plans in September for building on a brown-field site, citing as their rationale for refusal that there was no need for the additional housing, yet only weeks after this they produce the MIR”.

“The Clyde Valley structure plan, the local plan from April 2011 and the demographics all suggest we don’t need additional housing.

“I urge local people to object to all three options and demand the status quo, as that has more than enough room for growth, over twice what should be needed”.

Jim Sandeman, spokesman for Newton Mearns community council, continued to express fears that many people still do not understand the extent of the proposals.

“We are holding a public meeting on February 29 to try to bridge this void, as it will be autumn before ERC even consider the first revision.

“At this week’s meeting, concern was again expressed that while more green belt land appears to be targeted for building there are still more than 2,000 housing consents not yet built and more than 50 hectares of derelict land which should be top of the list for development.

“What happened to strategic planning”?

Clarkston community council spokeswoman Kirsten Oswald, believes fears are shared by residents in Clarkston and Busby.

She said: “At our meeting this week, there was unanimous concern about the implications if this proposal does go ahead.

“I don’t think the infrastructure could take the stress it would put on East Renfrewshire”.

However, a council East Renfrewshire council spokesman attempted to downplay concerns.

He told The Extra: “There are further opportunities to influence the proposals before the scheduled adoption date which would be in Spring 2014, including a 12 week consultation in October this year.

“If there are any proposals residents are concerned about they should be reassured that any proposal would still be subject to full the full planning application process.

“There is a great deal of detail in the report but we would encourage people to take the time to read as much as possible of the information contained in it and make your views known to us”.

n To REPLY to the MIR consultation, which aims to stimulate discussion about how East Renfrewshire should develop over the next 20+ years, visit and fill in the on-line form.