Council accused of ‘double standards’

Campaigners protest against the Redmoss development
Campaigners protest against the Redmoss development

East Dunbartonshire Council has been accused of double standards after refusing to grant permission for houses to be built near Torrance.

Stuart McDonald, MP for Kirkintilloch East, says the council has left itself open to the accusations after it rejected plans to build 140 homes on greenbelt on the outskirts of Torrance - which saw 178 objections lodged by residents.

However just a week before the council had approved the possibility of a similar development, also on greenbelt land, at Redmoss Farm in Milton of Campsie in the face of concerted local opposition.

In November, the council included proposals for building on the Redmoss land in its local development plan.

Planners received 669 objections and a petition opposing the change was signed by 333 local residents – who cited the area’s protected status, distance from public transport and amenity as grounds for objection.

Mr McDonald said: “While no two planning decisions are the same, the similarities between these two are striking.

“Both are designed to see scores of houses on village land which has been designated as greenspace. Both were met with considerable local opposition, raising legitimate concerns about the ability of local transport and services such as schools being able to cope with such developments.

“In acting in this inconsistent manner and by ignoring the concerns of hundreds of local residents the council has left itself open to accusations of double standards.

“I fail to see how the alleged benefits of this development will outweigh the loss of this greenspace and how the council can justify ignoring the concerns of so many local residents.”

Councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Regeneration, said: “These are two completely separate issues and shouldn’t be confused - one relates to a planning application, the other to the Proposed Local Development Plan.

“The Tower Farm planning application was refused on a number of grounds, including pedestrian safety, education, drainage and flooding, and public transport.

“We are duty bound to identify potential sites for housing. The Scottish Government has an aspiration to build 50,000 affordable homes in the next term.

“All sites in the Proposed Local Development Plan were selected to meet housing need and demand through a comprehensive site-selection process, as part of the development of the Plan.”