CONTROVERSIAL plans for a garden centre next to a Johnstone supermarket have been recommended for approval by Renfrewshire Council.

Morrisons has applied to build the development in the car park of its Napier Street store.

Council bosses reportedly wanted to push through the application months ago without any debate from elected members.

But it will come before the communities, housing and planning board on Tuesday after three councillors requested it first be discussed in a public forum.

Officers have still suggested the proposals are given the green light, despite concerns this could add to congestion on the busy A737 road.

Some residents have also insisted the nearby family-run Gowanlea garden centre could lose vital customers to the well-known chain after being around for more than 60 years.

Councillor Audrey Doig, who represents the Houston, Crosslee and Linwood ward where the supermarket sits, has joined forces with fellow elected members Andy Doig and Emma Rodden to make sure the plans are heard by the board.

She said the A737 junction is extremely busy at peak times and has already had too much pressure placed on it with the opening of the nearby Paton’s Mill retail park, which includes an Aldi, Home Bargains and Starbucks.

“Having another attraction for people to visit is just going to create much more traffic," added Councillor Doig.

“It’s already a nightmare at peak times around that junction, with cars coming off the A737 and into Johnstone from Brookfield.

“Although it isn’t a planning issue, I am also concerned about the impact on Gowanlea. I do not want to see that business killed off.”

Councillor Doig does not sit on the planning board but her husband Andy and Councillor Rodden both do and will be able to speak on the issue if they wish.

The council has said the garden centre would not result in a significant impact on visual amenity and the existing road network would be able to cope with any extra traffic.

If the plans get the go-ahead, the new building would measure 48 square metres, with a curved roof that is around three metres high.

It would be accessed from an existing pedestrian route through the car park.

The development would reduce the number of parking spaces from 490 to 480.