A TOP council boss made a public appearance to calm fears over major property developments in Neilston and Uplawmoor this week in 2003.

Representatives of community councils were given the presentation as part of a drive to inform residents about the authority’s Local Plan, which aimed to determine the direction and shape of communities in the decades to come.

The Scottish Executive’s independent Reporter had looked into East Renfrewshire Council’s plan, which had been years in the making.

Mike Crichton, development plans manager for the council at the time, said the process was far from over.

The planning boss gave a watered-down version of the 400-page plan, showing maps of greenbelt areas in Neilston and Uplawmoor. While zones such as Kirktonfield Road were approved for new homes by the Reporter, the council rejected the idea.

Both council representatives and community members alike expressed frustration at builders and the government Reporter, claiming that the concerns of residents were being ignored.

Community council member Jim Junner said at the time: “They don’t know what we have to put up with. The traffic is horrendous and yet you have Reporters coming in, not knowing anything about the locality. It’s big business, big bucks.”

Mr Crichton agreed, telling the group: “The Reporter has based a lot of this on his own opinion. It’s only recently that Reporters have started going against local plans. At the end of the day, I don’t think he could resist the temptation to plan the area himself.”