THE fate of controversial plans to change the status of a greenbelt site hangs in the balance after councillors snubbed calls to protect it.

Angry villagers have accused Renfrewshire Council of “passing the buck” on a decision to build more than 100 homes on a field next to Burnfoot Road, in Lochwinnoch.

At last month's meeting of the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, councillors voted by 10 to two against making changes to the Local Development Plan.

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Council chiefs previously outlined their support for changing the field’s status in the plan and it will now be subject to an examination by a Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers.

Residents walked out “in disgust” at the decision and say the council has ignored the concerns of nearly 900 people who backed a petition against the proposals.

Kerry Mackendrick, who was among those attending the meeting, said: “It seems to me that the councillors are just trying to pass the buck to the Scottish Government.

“It reflects on the credibility of Renfrewshire Council in proposing substantial new housing in an area currently prone to commuters being unable to enter or leave the village due to local flooding.”

In a background report, council chiefs suggest Stewart Milne Homes as potential developers and say they believe the plans are deliverable and effective.

Lochwinnoch councillors Bill Binks and Emma Rodden both voted against an amendment put forward by Councillor Andy Doig.

The amendment read: “(The) Burnfoot Road area of Lochwinnoch is recorded in the Renfrewshire Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2017) as a potential flood risk...and should be retained as greenbelt.”

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Cllr Doig told The Gazette: “I will continue to back the residents of Burnfoot Road in pointing out that the Kilbirnie to Lochwinnoch road frequently floods, as does the central area of Lochwinnoch during flash flooding, and, crucially, the Burnfoot Road housing at present is not connected to the mains sewerage supply.

“This site is simply not suitable for a large-scale housing development.”

A council spokesperson said: “The proposed Renfrewshire Local Development Plan was agreed and a 12-week consultation period was undertaken, during which time comments and representations from the public, key agencies and private organisations were sought.”

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