HERE'S what local MSP Derek Mackay has to say in this week's Gazette column...

GREENBELT I am disappointed that Renfrewshire Council's Planning Board decided to open up particular green belt areas for house building despite a large amount of local opposition.

At a recent meeting the Labour led authority refused to listen to the concerns of local residents in areas from Shillingworth in Bridge of Weir and two sites in Houston.

This encroachment into the green belt will potentially change the character of these two villages impacting on local services and the visual amenity. The Shillingworth site was previously rejected at a Public Local Inquiry in 2004, since the site and the land uses in and around it are unchanged it is difficult to understand why the Labour administration now believe it is suitable for development.

The next stage of the process will see the Scottish Government appoint a Reporter who will examine all the objections to the council's proposals before making a decision on the council's development plans. It is disappointing that the Labour councillors ignored local opinion, in the knowledge that the council position carried such weight in the planning system.

CRIME FALLS TO 39 YEAR LOW Latest figures have revealed that recorded crime is now at the lowest level in 39 years. This is a clear indication of the success of the SNP's policy to recruit and retain an additional 1,000 police officers.

TESCO WALLNEUK SITE I met recently with Tesco to discuss their Wallneuk site in Gallowhill. Although I am disappointed that the new Tesco store will not go ahead I received a commitment that the company will keep the site tidy and cleaned up. The advertising hoardings with local information will also be maintained. So the location must not become a derelict and blighted site.

RAILWAY CRIME With the coming of the summer holidays, we normally see an increase in the number of instances of trespass on the railway, particularly from children and youths. Railway Crime has a major impact on the safe operation of the railway. The annual cost to the industry is estimated to be in excess of �260 million a year. Vandalism is the single biggest risk to the railway and apart from the obvious safety implications it also causes significant service delays and inconveniences to thousands of passengers. It is important to stress to everyone, particularly children, of the dangers of playing on or vandalising the railway.

ACCESSING YOUR GP The Scottish Health Minister has recently confirmed that Scotland's NHS will not copy the proposals in England to limit the number of times a patient can visit their GP. This is a daft idea that would see people with serious illnesses turned away from their GP because they have reached a limit imposed by a civil servant or politician. People need to be able to see their GP - If they are regularly unwell they need to see their local doctor as often as is necessary.