AN application by Tesco to build a massive new supermarket in Milngavie has been sensationally knocked back.
It was widely expected that councillors at a Planning Board meeting on Tuesday would defer a decision on the controversial development that has attracted a massive 752 written objections from members of the public.
However, instead they voted by 12 votes to five, with five abstentions, to boot the project into touch.
Tesco wanted to build a new two storey car park and a two storey superstore on the current car park site, with walkways linking the buildings.
However, objectors said the plans would alter the whole character of Milngavie and would decimate local businesses already reeling from the recession.
Bearsden councillor Amanda Stewart moved a proposal to ask for a site visit and a public hearing, but following debate she said it became clear the mood in the chamber was for rejection.
Councillor Stewart said: "I got a feeling there was a mood it would be rejected so withdrew my proposal for a site visit and asked for a vote on the application itself." Her vote was seconded by councillor Alan Moir.
A number of points were highlighted in the comprehensive planning report which convinced a majority of councillors the application was a bad idea.
Among these were the scale and impact on amenities, concerns it would be out of character with the surrounding area, the future viability of Milngavie and Bearsden town centres, and the increase in traffic and air pollution.
Councillor Stewart said she now hoped Tesco would conduct meaningful consultation with residents over any future expansion of the store.
Welcoming the news, Milngavie MSP Des McNulty said: "I am delighted that the councillors have taken this decision and overturned the recommendation of planning officials.
"People in Milngavie are not against Tesco. I don't have any problem with Tesco making improvements, but there was strong opposition to them more than doubling the size of the present store. We don't need a Tesco bigger than the one under construction in Maryhill.
"The councillors' decision, for which they should be given due credit, means discussions can now take place between Tesco, the council, and local organisations such as the community council, the traders organisation and the campaign group We Like Milngavie."
Eve Gilmour, spokesperson for We Like Milngavie, a group set up to fight the planning application, said: "I was impressed at the cross party support for rejecting this application and that our representatives have listened to the many people who have objected to Tesco's plans.
"Tesco, were ignoring the quality of life that local residents want and expect from Milngavie. We hope Tesco will now take local people seriously and modernise their store in a manner worthy of the area."
MP Jo Swinson said: "The result was a victory for the local community because the reaction to this was incredibly strong.
Milngavie Councillor Eric Gotts said: "I very much welcome the decision by a majority of the Planning Board to refuse this controversial application.
"The proposal would have sapped the vitality of Milngavie. The industrial looking building would have been out of character with the nearby conservation area and would have completely dominated Gavin's Mill, the 'B' listed building which gives Milngavie its name."
Jennifer Duncan of Tesco, said: "We are extremely disappointed by this decision, having been recommended for approval by planning officers. Our plans to further invest in Milngavie would create 250 new jobs for the area and improve the service, quality and choice on offer to our customers.
"We will now be taking time to consider the detail of this decision."