Planning Application No. 16/0423/PP – Retail development at Whitelint Gate, Johnstone Road, Bridge of Weir
Case Officer: Ms C Murray
Bridge of Weir community council having considered this application and, taking account of representations from residents, wish to lodge the following objections.
1 The proposal is contrary to Renfrewshire Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) which clearly designates the land as Green Belt and not brownfield as claimed in the application.
2 A development of this scale would be an unacceptable intrusion into the Green Belt changing the overall character of this edge of the village and, at the same time, open the door to possible future pressure to develop adjacent land for residential housing. This, in turn, would put undue pressure on village services, e.g. Schools, GP services, and road congestion.
3 The application discounts the brownfield site at C H Bulls, partly on the grounds of size and partly on grounds of multiple ownership. Neither of these concerns would warrant Renfrewshire Council supporting an out of centre location when Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) seeks to encourage the use of sustainable transport and reduce dependency on the use of private cars. (see point 5 below)
4 The proposed road access fails to integrate the development with the village centre, creating an out of town style supermarket. This will have a detrimental effect on existing business’ There is also concern that Crosslee Road will be used as a ‘rat run’ between Crosslee and the proposed development. This is a country road and unsuitable for additional traffic.
5 The local community consider that this proposed development is in the wrong place. While arguably there are walk and cycle links with the village, the site is simply too far to walk to for residents of Bridge of Weir. The community cannot understand why such a travel generating development could be tolerated so far from the village centre and where the only real means of access is by car. We understood that planning policy sought to focus such developments where they were truly accessible with town centres being the preferred location not on the outer edge of the village. Just because this is the only site being brought forward at this time does not make it an acceptable site.
6 Rail line protection (SPP 277)
The local community continue to support and promote the principle of some form of rail transport returning to the village. The impact of this development is highly likely to affect that opportunity by constructing a roundabout over the existing rail bed and inevitably reducing head-rooms as a consequence of that construction. While that may allow a continued use of the rail bed for walking and cycling it will inevitably be the end of any serious pursuit of rail or light rail options for and through Bridge of Weir. Surely this has to be contrary to the promotion of sustainable transport and contrary to the expectation of Scottish Planning Policy which seeks to offer safeguards to protect such an asset.
7 The evidence offered on the need for additional retail capacity is not shared by local residents who already have access to major supermarkets in Johnstone, Linwood and Port Glasgow, all served by existing public transport. Additionally, some take advantage of ‘on-line’ shopping.
8 The proposed car parking at the retail unit is a concern to nearby residents in Gorse Crescent because of the inevitable noise that comes with frequent traffic movements.
9 The land at this site was previously utilised for land fill by a local building firm and others. Concern has been raised as to the possibly of contaminants leaching into the River Gryffe during construction work. (see point 11 on wild life)
10 There is a path of desirability running through this land which links the residential area with the cycle track and Johnstone Road. This path has enjoyed un-encumbered access for a considerable number of years, probably in excess of twenty, and should be considered as having right of way status.
11 This site had benefited from natural regeneration since the landfill facility closed around 1991. As a result of this regeneration, a diverse population of wild life had made this their habitat. The premature clearance of the site prior to the planning application has destroyed these habitats and could have effects on the local River Gryffe.
on behalf of Bridge of Weir community council.