Time to talk

THE PEOPLE of East Renfrewshire have only two weeks to object to developments that could change the complexion of the area forever.

That’s the warning from Conservative councillor Stewart Miller, as the council’s consultation on its Main Issues Report will end on December 28.

Some local residents have reacted in outrage to the report — which sets out a road map for East Ren’s future — as it identifies the need for more than 5,000 new houses unity to be built over the next 25 years.

Samantha Booth told The Extra: “As a lifelong Eaglesham resident I am appalled at the proposed plans.

“It will destroy the essence of the village and corrode all the aspects which make it such a desirable place to live.

“It is supposed to be a conservation area but these plans do nothing to “preserve and protect” the village.

“The fact that there are no extra services planned is also a huge concern, especially as our school, doctors and roads are already overstretched”.

Newton Mearns resident Harry Stewart, who lives in Loganswell, is also fearful.

He stressed: “This could make Newton Mearns ridiculous. There will no longer be greenbelt, just a sprawling development.

“It will happen very quickly if we allow it.

“Councillors are very vocal when it comes to getting re-elected, but when it’s a major plan which will re-define East Renfrewshire, nobody knows about it”.

Newton Mearns community council has called for ERC to extend the consultation by at least one month.

A community council spokesman said: “The main issues report contains prospects of wholesale housebuilding and lack of proper publicity has resulted in most of the population knowing nothing about it.

“At our most recent meeting, the council was accused of hiding behind legislation by doing the minimum required and thus abandoning their duty of care”.

The main issues report sets out a planning strategy and vision for the area. It highlights, when agreed, where development should and should not go.

East Renfrewshire’s planning applications convener, councillor Ian McAlpine, encouraged residents and businesses to have their say.

He said: “The Main Issues Report guides the council’s planning service by setting out the broad distribution of new homes, jobs and services in the area.

“This is your opportunity to have a real influence on the future of East Ren”.

However, opposition leader Jim Swift criticised ERC for issuing a “massive impenetrable document”.

He continued: “The council spends too much time circulating pictures of administration councillors at photo opportunities.

“They need to deal with what is really important, a plan which could destroy our community and obliterate our greenbelt, and let people know about it”.

At present there are already 1,205 consented residential units with planning permission but not built from the 2010 housing land audit.

East Renfrewshire council maintains there “is a presumption against residential development in the greenbelt unless it can be justified or other material considerations are relevant”.