The developer behind controversial plans to turn a Barrhead pub into a funeral parlour is appealing against a council decision to reject the plan.
Sava Estates’ appeal to the Scottish Government brands the decision to refuse the application – to open the business on the site of the former Hurlet Carvery – as “flawed”, “incompetent” and based on nothing more than subjective opinions.
East Renfrewshire Council’s planning committee rejected the plans last month, saying there was a lack of parking provision and the development would cause congestion.
The committee had been urged to approve the scheme by planning officers but it lost out by three votes to two.
Councillor Stewart Miller said those who had visited the site had raised concerns over its exit, branding it “too dangerous”.
However, agent Don Bennett, of Bennett Developments and Consulting, on behalf of Sava Estates, has objected to the decision.
“Prior to the application being lodged and during the deliberations, there had been discussions with the planning officer, and traffic section staff,” the appeal states.
“These were fruitful and resulted in the planning officer being comfortable with the proposed development and progressing the application with a view to recommending approval of the application.
“It was therefore a matter of some surprise and concern to the applicant that notwithstanding the support of the planning service, the application had been refused.”
The agent added it would have been normal for the Council to identify which planning policies the application had failed to address.
“It is reasonable to assume that having entrusted the formulation of the policy framework to their in-house planning staff the recommendations and opinions of the same staff would be seen as competent and considered, after all who better to understand the nature and aspirations of the policies than the parties who devised them.
“Yet perversely the elected members saw fit to reject the recommendations of their professional planning staff and to refuse the application.
“While it is within the regulations for a planning committee to reject the recommendations of their officers, it is incumbent on the planning committee to present supportive and substantive arguments to support their contrary stance.
“It is not acceptable for the planning committee to simply reject the recommendation on nothing more than a tissue of subjective and ill-considered comment.”
In the appeal, the agent claims the planning officer had accepted the site was adjacent to a busy road. He said the proposed development would recycle and existing building and continue to use the “existing expansive car park and the existing vehicle accesses”.
Nearby residents objected to the proposal, raising concerns over traffic and noise pollution, as well as a negative impact on greenspace, wildlife and property values.
They felt an alternative site should be found for the funeral parlour, which would be erected just yards away from where East Renfrewshire’s first crematorium will be built.