Housing development unanimously approved despite over 1,000 objections

Residents raised concerns over loss of green space, busier roads and a lack of infrastructure to support the homes. 

East Renfrewshire council approves controversial housing development in Neilston despite over 1,000 objections LDRS

A controversial plan to build 90 homes in Neilston has been unanimously approved despite over 1,000 objections.

Residents fear Dawn Homes’ development, off Kirkton Road, will cause excessive noise but council planners recommended the proposal was given the go ahead.

The developers have welcomed the council decision, saying the project will offer “highly energy efficient new-build homes” with play areas for children.

East Renfrewshire’s planning committee visited the site on Wednesday before deciding to back the application, subject to a legal agreement on the delivery of affordable housing and a financial contribution from the developer. There are expected to be 24 affordable homes.

A noise assessment submitted with the plans revealed houses closest to the railway line will experience levels at night which are “likely to cause a waking event”.

Councillor Andrew Morrison said: “It says in the report that the noise levels would exceed the World Health Organisation standards unless windows were kept closed.

“I believe in the summertime — these new build properties have really good insulation — that could result in quite a lot of discomfort for the residents, unless the windows are left open, in which case there will be a lot of noise from the adjacent railway.”

In response, a planning official said night time noise is “defined as anything after 11pm at night and before 6am, so the actual number of train movements is very limited overnight”.

He added the first train is at 6.27am and the last journey at 11.34pm and said: “I’m not disputing there is a noise issue but the impression that there is consistent noise throughout the night is not the impression to take away, it is an occasional noise.”

Planning committee chairwoman, councillor Betty Cunningham, said: “The only thing that’s there is the golf club and that’s got certain times it’s open late for functions but normally that area of Neilston is very, very quiet. As you can see, it’s mostly out in the country.”

Neilston residents also raised concerns over the loss of green space, busier roads and a lack of infrastructure, such as schools and shops, to support the new homes. 

However, Dawn Homes’ managing director, Martin Egan, said: “Neilston is a great village with playing fields, a train station, local schools and a variety of amenities including a community centre, library, leisure centre and shops.

“Our development will bring highly energy efficient three and four bedroom new-build homes to the area, with play areas for children. 

“There will be ample open space and woodland, ideal for taking the dog and to encourage biodiversity, with walking and cycle routes linking throughout the development to the wider community for all to enjoy. We’re looking forward to making a start on site in the coming months.”

Council planners had recommended the project could be approved, pointing out the site is identified in the local development plan for residential use. They also said the proposal had “undergone extensive revisions” to meet council policies and “exceeds the affordable housing requirements”.

When the committee originally met to discuss the plans in April, then Provost, Jim Fletcher, Labour, said: “If we were to simply refuse this because there are a number of objectors, I think it’s almost 100% certain that the developer would go to the Scottish Government reporter and the reporter would say it’s a site for development in the local plan and pass it.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, Cllr Jim McLean, said: “I think we need to be very careful what we do here because obviously if the plans are rejected today then this will probably go to the reporter and, in all possibility, the reporter will overturn it.”

However, new Provost Mary Montague, said: “Irrespective of where it might go after this we are here to make a decision on what is in front of us, so I won’t be taking it into consideration.”

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