Residents in Milton of Campsie say they have had little or no time to object to controversial plans to build houses on greenbelt land.
CALA Homes wants to build 55 properties, which would include affordable housing, on a site at the village’s Birdston Road.
Residents turned out in force on Saturday to protest against the plans to build on the greenbelt.
They are also incensed that they were only given notice by East Dunbartonshire Council to object to the proposals just days before Christmas.
Some of the villagers were away on holiday and others complained they could not get in touch for clarification on the plans as the council’s planning department was shut for the festive break.
Alan Harris, secretary of Milton of Campsie Greenbelt Preservation, said: “Five neighbouring properties received a letter from East Dunbartonshire Council on Christmas Eve giving only until January 12 to lodge submissions to this application.
“This was despite the fact that the planning department was closed over the entire holiday period.”
He added that, when the department reopened last week, it was still impossible to get anyone to speak to about an extension to the deadline.
Mr Harris said: “Both the team leader and case officer were still on holiday and the case officer was not back until January 13 - the day after the deadline.”
Mr Harris sent six separate emails to the council during the holiday period and on each occasion received an out of office reply.
In a letter in his capacity as chairperson of Milton of Campsie Community Council to East Dunbartonshire Council’s Director of Development and Regeneration Thomas Glen, Mr Harris said: “I am sure you did not deliberately plan to deliver this letter on Christmas Eve in order to make it more difficult for people to object.”
He added he was sure the council “would not want any suspicion that this application was being pushed through without those in the wider village community who wanted to object having the opportunity to do so.”
Thomas Glen said on Monday: “There are always challenges over holidays periods - particularly Christmas - when it comes to statutory processes such as planning applications.
“The council is required to validate and notify relevant parties of applications as early as possible when received.
“As the festive period is often a difficult period for ensuring that the timeframe for responding can be met, we do allow a greater degree of flexibility.
“In this instance, we will continue to receive representations up until January 19.
“We would encourage those who have comments or objections to planning applications to act as quickly as possible to ensure their views are taken into account.
“If anyone has any queries, please call us on 0300 123 4510.”
A spokesman for the developers said on Monday: “CALA submitted their plans to the council on the 30th November, so well in advance of when the council chose to advise the public.”