FAO: Case officer – Ms C Murray
Ref: Planning Application No. 16/0571/PP – Residential development at Whitelint Gate, Bridge of Weir
Bridge of Weir community council has considered this proposal and wish the following comments and points of objection to be taken into account when Renfrewshire Council decide on the application.
The applicant has previously been refused permission to develop this site. Ref: application No. 04/0547/PP seeking permission to clear 5.4 hectares of land for housing and woodland. The applicant appealed this decision. The appeal was dismissed by the Reporter.
later the applicant submitted a POAN, ref: number 15/0261/NO for a development comprising a retail unit of 25000sq.ft and approximately 200 dwellings with associated road infrastructure changes. The applicant did not follow up on this POAN.
The applicant then submitted an application (ref: 16/0423/PP) for a retail unit of 2200sq.m with 176 parking bays, a four pump petrol station and road infrastructure changes similar to those shown in the abandoned POAN. At the time of writing, a decision on this application has yet to be made by Renfrewshire Council.
We now have yet another application (16/0571/PP) for a residential development comprising circa 49 dwellings on 1.95 hectares of land adjacent to the proposed retail unit. This land was part of the previous POAN. The community council believe that the applicant is abusing the planning system in a systematic way that will eventually lead us back to the proposals in the original POAN without having it treated as a ‘Major’ development. These proposals should not be considered in isolation of one another.
The more substantive reasons for the community council’s objection are;
1 The Proposal is contrary to Renfrewshire Council’s policy ENV1 on green belt and the local development plan (LDP). The applicant considers the land to be ‘Brownfield’. However, the land is clearly zoned as ‘Green Belt’ on the adopted LDP. Premature clearance of the site by the applicant appears to be an attempt to redefine the green belt boundary.
2 This proposal, combined with the earlier retail development proposal, would be an inappropriate erosion of the green belt resulting in a substantial and adverse impact on the setting of this edge of the village.
3 Anecdotal evidence suggests that this may be ‘contaminated land’ and disturbance during construction may result in leaching of chemicals to the nearby River Gryffe. The proposal does not clarify what, if any, environmental assessment has been made of this risk.
4 The proposed road access from Johnstone Road fails to integrate this development with the existing village and would create an edge of town environment that does not contribute to the local economy. Indeed, if this housing development together with the retail proposal referred to was to go ahead, the effect on the existing village centre economy would be devastating.
5 If approved, this could open the door to further housing on the adjacent green belt ground (also owned by the applicant) which will increase the impact on schools, GP services and add to road congestion.
6 The proposed round-a-bout would require engineering work which will affect the environmental setting of the entrance to the village and, combined with the road access to the proposed retail unit (subject of the earlier application at Whitelint), will lead to further pressure for housing in the green belt.
7 The engineering works required for the proposed the round-a-bout would compromise the old railway track bed, and therefore also compromise any future opportunity to bring back rail access between Kilmacolm and Glasgow; an ambition held by many.
8 There is a footpath through this area from Moss Road to Johnstone Road, that has been used for more than 20 years, and should be considered as a ‘Right of Way’
9 The premature clearing of the site, in anticipation of the submitted applications, has already had an adverse effect on the wild life within the area. The applicant will no doubt point to the historical use of the site as a company landfill site. However, the licence for this use expired in the early 1990’s. The land had regenerated and was supporting a wide range of bird and animal life, much of which has now gone.
10 Since this proposal is based on the assumption that the road infrastructure associated with the earlier retail proposals (15/0261/PP) will be in place, it is essential that the objections submitted to that retail development with regard to the impact on the existing retail offering in the village are taken into account when assessing this application for residential housing.
For all the above reasons, the community council urge that Renfrewshire Council refuse this application.
On behalf of Bridge of Weir community council.
7th September 2016