CONTROVERSIAL plans for a housing development on greenbelt land in Neilston have been submitted to East Renfrewshire Council.

Dawn Homes have officially applied for planning permission to build 149 houses and nine flats on land at Kirkton Road.

The developers submitted a pre-application notice of their intention to build on the land back in April last year but the full details of the plans have only now been revealed.

The proposals would see a range of three and four-bedroom houses being built across 23 acres of fields.

However, the plans are likely to face stern opposition before a decision is made by the council’s planning committee.

Some residents argue the proposals would “destroy a free, beautiful and safe public space” and create “really significant” traffic problems in the area.

A high-profile campaign has been mounted in recent months to prevent any development at all on the land, commonly referred to as Kirkton Field.

Campaigner Rachel Ferguson, 24, of Craighall Quadrant, said: “We have collected nearly 700 signatures of opposition to this proposal and have full support from across the political spectrum in opposition to this development.

“The people of Neilston do not need nor want this estate to be built.

"Development is good and necessary when it does not destroy the very reasons people want to live here – accessible roads and beautiful green space for all to enjoy.”

Ms Ferguson also criticised the timing of the application’s submission, commenting: “Tactics such as placing controversial planning applications in over the busy Christmas period undermine public involvement in the planning process and bring developers into disrepute.

“It is very disappointing but we are very well prepared.”

Martin Egan, managing director of Dawn Homes, disputed the assertions of the campaign group.

He said: “We have already met with the council’s roads department and agreed a traffic strategy. It’s not something we’ve taken lightly.

“Also, this is not public space. It’s privately-owned farmland in the agricultural zone. 

“It’s an allocated residential development site within the local development plan and almost 40 per cent of the land will not have housing on it. There will still be a significant area of open space retained.

“I understand why people get quite upset about the loss of greenspace. However, the council has a requirement to deliver housing in East Renfrewshire, including affordable housing.

“There will be close to 45 affordable houses as part of this development, which is much needed in the area.”