THE Scottish Government has backed Renfrewshire Council’s decision to refuse plans for almost 250 new homes in Erskine.

Persimmon Homes asked to develop a mix of houses and flats at an eight-hectare site near the Muthu Glasgow River Hotel, formerly known as the Erskine Bridge Hotel.

Despite officers recommending the proposals be approved, councillors voted against them in October after concerns were raised by residents about a lack of local infrastructure and low-cost housing, as well as a loss of greenspace.

Persimmon then appealed to the government but the council’s ruling has been upheld by planning reporters.

A spokesperson for Erskine Community Council told The Gazette: “We are delighted to learn the Scottish Government has taken this decision, which was reached in no small measure by the efforts of the Erskine community in fighting the recent planning application from Persimmon and Cosmopolitan Group. 

“It serves to demonstrate that the efforts of a local collective can defeat large developers. This now means our community can enjoy green field access from Newshot Island to Boden Boo.”

Councillors Iain Nicolson and Michelle Campbell, who both represent Erskine and Inchinnan, said in a joint statement: “We held public meetings when the housing plans were first announced to hear what local residents had to say. 

“The more we saw of the plans, the more we were alarmed at the implications for our riverfront, traffic issues and schools.

“It hugely damaged our green open spaces and local woodlands. 

“We were right to push for a hearing for objectors and right to move for a refusal at the planning board.”

Councillor Tom Begg, who also represents Erskine and Inchinnan, added: “The people of Erskine achieved this outcome. It was a group effort by many people, including the wildlife specialists who established the importance of protecting the area.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson confirmed planning reporters had  submitted a report and recommendations to Renfrewshire Council in relation to their Local Development Plan, which included removing the application site.

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes added: “We note that the Scottish Government reporter has published his report on examination in respect of the Local Development Plan and made recommendations to the local authority, some of which relate to the Erskine Riverfront which includes our application site.”