A NEW housing development is set to be built on greenbelt land in Houston, despite dozens of objections.

The controversial application from CALA Homes and Acorn Property Group was approved at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s planning board and will see 57 homes erected at a site to the south-east of B-listed Woodend House.

CALA has said the range of two, four and five-bedroom homes has been “beautifully designed” and will cater for growing families, as well as presenting opportunities for first-time buyers and downsizers.

But Councillor Andy Doig led a push to get the plans thrown out after they attracted 60 objections, including one from Houston Community Council.

Villagers raised concerns the homes will cause serious road congestion, while others highlighted fears over the site being located within the greenbelt.

Councillor Doig, whose wife Audrey represents the village, claimed the proposals go against national planning policy and could put further pressure on schools and the narrow B790.

He told the meeting: “When it comes to climate change, we really need to learn to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

“The community council has objected to this application and they’re correct to raise concerns about road congestion. The B790 is a very rural and narrow road which is prone to flooding and it leads directly onto the M8. It could easily be used as a rat run through to Greenock and Glasgow.

“Any hope of increasing cycling would mainly be a pipe dream because we’re talking about an extra 120 cars hurtling down this road.

“School provision is also under severe stress in this area. Houston Primary and Gryffe High are very oversubscribed and I don’t see anything in the application that tries to deal with that.”

An amendment to reject the plans was tabled by the Independent councillor and seconded by SNP member Emma Rodden but the board chose to approve the application by 10 votes to five.

CALA has agreed to develop several footpaths, including one in Houston Road, along the front of the development, as well as cycle lanes and a pedestrian crossing with an island on the B790.

Graham McNeil, land and development director at CALA Homes (West), said: “We have a strong track record of success in Houston and our commitment to provide additional well-designed homes will help to meet local demand and strengthen the existing community.

“Our investment in Renfrewshire will also create new jobs and help the local economy.

“As part of its commitment to creating sustainable and inclusive communities, CALA has worked closely with Houston organisations in recent years, including Abbey Nursery during national Road Safety Week, and it contributed towards the refurbishment of the helicopter park by the Houston Play Improvement Group.

“CALA will continue to seek opportunities to support the community as the development moves forward.”