Plans for 180 homes on an “eyesore” site in Ferguslie Park have been refused by Renfrewshire Council over capacity concerns at two schools.

AS Homes proposed the development – which it claimed would’ve provided a £40 million investment in new housing – for land near Junction 29 at St James Interchange.

However, the blueprint for a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom houses failed to land the green light at the planning and climate change policy board on Tuesday.

Despite this, Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling, a Labour representative for Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, acknowledged the plot was in “sore need of development”.

She added: “Anyone who knows where that site sits, it’s another site that has been an absolute eyesore for many, many years.

“I’m sure the residents that live in the local vicinity would be very happy to see something go in, in its place.”

The Gazette:

Elected members ultimately agreed with officers that the planning application should be rejected, citing an objection from the council’s children’s services department on grounds relating to education provision as a key reason.

It noted that St Andrew’s Academy is operating at 118 per cent capacity and St Fergus’ Primary School at 97 per cent – both comfortably over an “acceptable threshold” of 85 per cent.

A report, which was considered by the board, said the applicant was not prepared to enter into a Section 75 agreement, which would have included a financial contribution towards education provision.

Councillor Bruce MacFarlane, an SNP representative for Paisley Southeast, said: “St Andrew’s, it’s saying there, is operating at 118 per cent capacity and that’s before Thornly Park and Dykebar’s been built, which has already been granted planning permission.

“It’s going to be a severe issue in terms of meeting our responsibility as a local authority to deliver education with those numbers.

“We can’t be naive to that, we need to be aware of it.”

The Gazette:

Planning permission in principle was previously granted in 2019 for a mixed-use development, which included residential and other uses, such as hotels and a pub or restaurant.

Before the decision of the planning board this week, Paul Kelly, managing director at AS Homes, said he was “staggered” that refusal had been recommended.

He claimed: “Along with blocking the creation of new homes for families, this decision would prevent £40m of investment into Ferguslie Park, which in turn supports job creation and brings significant social and economic benefits to the community.”

AS Homes intends to appeal the decision to the Scottish Government.