No end in sight to ex soldier’s planning battle with council

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A long-running planning row over an ex-soldier’s bid to build a house on his family’s farm is rumbling on.

Planning chiefs at East Renfrewshire Council have decided to wait until accusations against their colleague, Stewart Miller, have been dealt with before deciding on Gordon Pollock’s proposal for Mossneuk Farm.

They have also requested to visit the site.

The plan was thrown out by councillors in December, with Mr Miller, a farm-owner, branding it “rubbish”, despite council officers backing the scheme.

However, Mr Pollock, who has worked on the farm since he was forced to retire from the Army after he was shot in Afghanistan, has complained to the council about Mr Miller’s involvement.

He says he has an undeclared conflict of interest.

Mr Miller claims the Pollocks “are looking for excuses”.

Councillors on the planning committee chose to continue the new application until the claims have been investigated.

Vice-chair Betty Cunningham expressed surprise at how quickly the application had returned.

“I’ve never really seen it come back so quickly,” she said. “The committee wish to wait on the outcome of the accusation against Councillor Miller.”

Councillor Jim McLean questioned the time it had took to complain about Mr Miller, saying: “Has he just waited to this time to get Mr Miller debarred?”

He also raised concerns over an Airbnb advert, which he believed contradicted information supplied in the planning application.

However, a council officer said: “You’ve come forward with a representation the officers don’t know anything about. It’s very difficult to respond.”

Provost Jim Fletcher said:  “I really don’t understand why this is back in February if it was refused in December.

“Is this the norm if someone gets refused planning permission? I’ve never seen it before.”

He said the situation with Mr Miller “ought to be dealt with before we look at the application”, adding: “Would it not be safer to wait until it’s concluded?”

Councillors previously voted three to two against the plan.

Neighbours have objected for a number of reasons, including the risk building work could pose to children who use the nearby Barrhead Riding Club’s livery yard.

But a labour requirement report, prepared by the Scottish Agricultural College and submitted with the application, states the farm needs five full-time workers.

Three of these workers should be living on the farm for animal welfare reasons, the report claims. Currently, only two full-time workers live on the site.