A DECISION on whether to approve Renfrewshire's Local Development Plan (LDP) is expected to be made today.

The blueprint was agreed by Renfrewshire Council in 2019 but, in recent months, has been examined by an independent reporter appointed by the Scottish Government.

The reporter suggested several modifications to the LDP, which included adding land to the west of Barochan Road, Houston; in Thirplee Road, Bridge of Weir; in Northbar, Erskine; and three sites in Elderslie – the golf club, Auchenlodment Road and Barrhill Crescent.

Last month, councillors voted to throw out the reporter's recommendations – a decision welcomed by residents in Lochwinnoch who have been fighting to save a field next to Burnfoot Road from future development after it was included in the LDP.

However, members of the council’s leadership board have since decided to remit the decision back to the communities, housing and planning policy board for more consideration this afternoon.

The Gazette: Villagers at a previous protest on the site at Burnfoot RoadVillagers at a previous protest on the site at Burnfoot Road

Councillor Andy Doig, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, believes the LDP should be voted on at a full council meeting due to controversy over using greenbelt land for housing.

He said: "I would like to ask who speaks for the SNP on this, because both the council leader and council officers have declared that approval of the LDP is a political, rather than quasi-judicial, decision.

"Both the SNP parliamentary candidate for Renfrewshire South and the SNP councillor for Lochwinnoch are opposed to the LDP as it stands, yet the SNP administration stand behind the LDP.

"SNP councillors are ignoring the fact there has been a breach of due process as the reporter did not consult Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park regarding the Burnfoot Road site, which is a breach of the Regional Parks Regulations 1981.

"Correct procedure has not been followed and the SNP must address this.”

Councillor Eddie Devine, leader of the Labour group, added: "I'm bitterly disappointed that this can't be decided by the full council, as it's such as emotive subject.

"We've been sent hundreds of emails about the issue in Lochwinnoch and I've never received that amount for any planning issue before."

However, council leader Iain Nicolson stressed that the LDP is a policy document, not a quasi-judicial document.

He said: "It requires the council to follow a procedure which is very clearly set out.

"The Countryside Act of 1981 refers to regional parks but only in the context of a live planning application.

"The LDP is a set of policies which also clearly prioritises brownfield sites are to be promoted over greenfield sites.

"It has been in the pipeline for three years and the information in it has been known to elected members over that time."

READ MORE: Campaigners will continue fight to keep green space clear of housing