Greenbelt release angers councillors

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TALKS are to take place between East Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government following concerns raised over the Government Reporters’ role in shaping the area’s Local Plan 2.

Councillor Billy Hendry, convener of the council’s development and infrastructure committee, is set to meet Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Local Government and Planning.

The meeting was requested following interventions by the Reporters into the content of the East Dunbartonshire Local Plan 2 as it was being finalised earlier this year. The insistence that areas of greenbelt be released for housing are a particular concern for the council.

Councillor Hendry said: “In East Dunbartonshire we believe in carrying out thorough and far-reaching consultation with local people and planning matters always attract great responses as communities care about the environment in which they live. We sought their views and their input helped shape the plan.

“Historically, this council has a strong presumption against erosion of the greenbelt and the people of East Dunbartonshire told us loud and clear that they support this position and expect us to defend the greenbelt on their behalf. It is of huge concern that our attempts to do just that have been undermined by the involvement of Scottish Government Reporters in the process and there is a loss of local accountability.”

The East Dunbartonshire Local Plan 2, complete with the Scottish Government Reporters’ amendments on greenbelt release reluctantly accepted by councillors, has been approved by ministers and is set to be adopted over coming weeks.