PLANS for 57 new homes at Braehead have been rubber-stamped, despite protests from Renfrewshire Council's leader and his deputy.

Park Lane Group has been handed permission to build 18 flats and 39 houses on a patch of grassland in Row Avenue, close to the Steam Wheeler pub.

But the proposal sparked a debate amongst elected members at a meeting of the planning board before being pushed through by a majority vote.

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It comes after councillors opted to hold off on a decision in January and go on a site visit to assess the suitability of the plans.

Council leader Iain Nicolson said at that time the spot was inappropriate for housing, as there are no other neighbourhoods nearby.

And he maintained following the site visit that the area was “heavily commercialised” and insisted residents would feel isolated.

He told the board: “The visual amenity in the area is one of industrialisation and commercialisation. There are no neighbourhoods connected.

“I don’t understand what our planners are thinking about with regards to this one. It has ghetto written all over it. It’s sitting there in total isolation.

“I think the area requires a masterplanning exercise that lays out proposals in the long-term with regards to it becoming residential.

“If people want to live there, it’s their choice but, as a planning authority, we need to be mindful of where we want residential development to take place.

“I think it’s an application that is speculative at best and it’s too early for that area.”

Deputy council leader Jim Paterson added: “This area just isn’t suitable for residential development at this time.”

Councillor Nicolson suggested the board refuse the plans but members opted to approve them by nine votes to six.

The site is bordered by a Premier Inn hotel to the south, Dobbies Garden Centre to the north, the Steam Wheeler to the north-east and Renfrew Road to the west.

Park Lane Group plans to build a mixture of terraced houses and flats.

Three-storey blocks of flats are proposed to the north-east and north-west of the site.

Access would be via Row Avenue, which would be continued into the development.