Planning board calls for inquiry over unpopular greenbelt housing development

Tower Road Farm
Tower Road Farm

East Dunbartonshire’s Planning Board is calling for an inquiry after its decision to reject an unpoplar greenbelt development was called in by Scottish Ministers.

The application by Hallam Land Management to build 140 homes at Tower Farm on the outskirts of Torrance may still go ahead - if ministers uphold an appeal by the developers.

Hallam Land Management were refused permission recently by the council to build 140 homes near Torrance. Almost 200 local people were also against the development.

Councillors voted against the plans after hearing the proposal was contrary to the Council’s Local Plan and Scottish Planning Policy.

After a meeting this week and an update on the on-going appeal process, the Council’s Planning Board reiterated its calls for a Planning Inquiry to be held to determine the appeal.

A spokesperson for the council said the planning board doesn’t believe calling this appeal in to ultimately be decided by a Scottish Government Minister in private is the right way to go and believe it also goes against the wishes of local people.

Councillors refused the application in December in line with Planning Officers’ recommendations that building houses on grazing fields at Tower Farm was contrary to the Council’s Local Plan and contrary to Scottish Planning Policy.

Councillor Billy Hendry, Chair of the Planning Board said, “We heard concerns about road safety, draining and flooding and public transport. Also, more than 170 local people felt strongly enough to object to the application and they deserve to be heard as part of the decision making process.

“Despite all this the applicant appealed and the Scottish Government Minister wants to review it and make a ruling. I am deeply disappointed and uncomfortable with this approach which compromises local democracy and decision making processes.”

”The Planning Board made the right choice for the right reasons – it took account of planning guidance, including representations made by local residents.

“A planning inquiry is now the only right way to go so that a full debate can be heard with residents being given a voice.”