A MAJOR housing plan for the former Shanks Industrial Park in Barrhead looks set to get the green light.

East Renfrewshire Council’s planning officers have recommended that elected members grant permission in principle at a meeting to be held today, despite concerns over mining hazards.

It would see the derelict 44-acre Blackbyres Road site transformed into a residential area.

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No details on how many houses would be built have been included at this time and the applicant – Cruden Homes/AGN Constructions Ltd – would be required to submit a second application, including this information, before work could get underway.

The site also falls within a ‘Development High Risk Area,’ identified by the Coal Authority, with a number of coal mining hazards, including two mine entries.

The council’s property and technical services team is insisting a full site investigation is carried out.

A report to councillors ahead of today’s meeting states: “In order to establish the remediation of abnormal ground conditions, a comprehensive whole site environmental assessment and site investigation report by an appropriately qualified professional firm will be required.

“It is anticipated that a comprehensive investigation would consider the site constraints such as contamination, culverts, bunds, coal mines, significant areas of made up ground with a mixture of bearing capacities, flood risk, existing underground culvert and previous uses.

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“All of these will potentially impact on the net developable acreage, layout of the site and value.”

A key condition, if the plan is approved, states that “development shall not commence until an application for an approval of matters specified in conditions has been submitted to and approved in writing by the planning authority relating to a comprehensive intrusive site investigation for mine entries and shallow mining is undertaken in order to establish the exact situation regarding coal mining legacy issues on the site.”

More than 50 representations concerning the plans have been sent to the council and include fears over traffic congestion, road safety issues, loss of privacy for nearby residents and an increase in noise and air pollution.

However, the report states a number of these matters will be considered at the detailed application stage. It also states the applicant has carried out appropriate pre-application consultation, despite concerns raised in the representations.

The W.G. Renfrew factory recently ceased operations on the site, which includes the remnants of previous buildings and a small area of grass, used for the grazing of cattle.

Council officers say the proposed re-use of an “urban brownfield site” for a new housing department falls within national and regional planning policy.