CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 50 houses on a greenbelt site in Barrhead have been rejected.

However, the applicant – Gladman Developments – could yet have the decision overturned by Scottish ministers.

The company had hoped to create a new estate at the Fereneze Braes, despite 170 objections and a petition signed by 514 people calling for the plans to be dropped.

Proposals included detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, with a quarter of those marked as affordable homes.

East Renfrewshire’s planning chiefs kicked out the plans as furious residents raised concerns about an increase in traffic, the threat to wildlife and a potential risk to children’s safety.

Barrhead resident Tom Lagan, who was among the protestors, said: “There has been a substantial number of objections. Not one submission supported the application.

“Kids play in this area. This will force those kids to play on the street. It will force the kids to play on the existing quarry, which is a site of special scientific interest.”

This is the second time in recent years that developers have tried to build on the Braes, after campaigners successfully fought against plans in 2013.

In 2010, the plot was identified by Scottish Government-appointed reporters as a potential housing site for 40 units.

East Renfrewshire Council had disagreed with that assessment and the reporters subsequently removed it as a housing opportunity.

The council’s director of environment, Andrew Cahill, recommended that Gladman’s plan was refused when councillors met to discuss the application last Thursday.

He said there was no shortfall in housing land in the local authority area and Gladman hadn’t demonstrated that a suitable site doesn’t exist elsewhere.

In their planning statement, Gladman said: “The proposal offers significant benefits in terms of housing delivery and associated benefits and there are no adverse impacts which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of approving the proposal.”

Councillors agreed to refuse the application but the local authority’s principal planner Sean McDaid admitted Gladman could appeal to Scottish ministers.