By Alex Dowdalls

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to block a controversial bid to build 50 houses on Barrhead’s greenbelt.

Gladman Development Scotland Ltd has submitted a planning application to East Renfrewshire Council for a site at Fereneze Braes.

It is the second time in recent years developers have tried to build on the site – home to animals and wildlife including horses – after campaigners successfully fought against plans in 2013.

Hundreds of people have already signed a petition against the new proposals, spearheaded once again by Barrhead man Tom Lagan.

He told the Barrhead News: “There is a lot of unrest about this all over the area. This development will have a major effect on all of our lives if approved.”

The proposed site is on the north western edge of Barrhead, at Brownside Avenue, and is not currently allocated for residential development in the adopted 2015 East Renfrewshire Local Development Plan (LDP).

Mr Lagan, of nearby Broom Crescent, added: “The developer has very underhandedly submitted this application at this time of the year in the hope that people objecting to this application will be minimal due to people being busy with Christmas.

“I have already sent out 400 letters to residents warning them about this application and we have 21 days to respond to the council. I have also written to MPs, MSPs, local ministers and to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.”

He has also run a petition against Gladman’s plans, which so far has attracted 616 signatures.

He said: “There is a lot of unrest about this all over the area. This development will have a major effect on all of our lives if approved.”

As part of their application, the developers have carried out detailed site investigations and technical studies.

As well as the 50 houses, the plan also includes for new vehicle access from Brownside Avenue, the creation of formal and informal public open space and landscaping.

Mr Lagan added: “The land is currently used as a horses’ field and is home to many wildlife, plants and trees including the deer that frequent the land from the neighbouring Gleniffer Braes.

“The land is used by many of the local community who enjoy this landscape and children play in this area.

“I have previously headed up a campaign a few years ago in which we successfully got this land removed from the LDP and assigned back to Greenbelt with the help from the council.”

The local community campaigner said he is “frustrated and angry” at what he described as, “this constant fight against developers wanting to build on designated greenbelt land”.

Mr Lagan added: “We need to fight this proposal to build on greenbelt and destroy beautiful landscape and harm the inhabitants of this area.”

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman confirmed the site was not outlined for housing development in the LDP, but said the application was currently under consideration.

The LDP was adopted in 2015 to replace the previous 2011 plan and sets out the housing land requirement.

A Gladman Development Scotland spokesman said: “The development represents sustainable expansion of Barrhead and is consistent with both the size and role of the settlement, and with the historic growth pattern of the area. The proposal can be accessed without detriment to highway safety or convenience.

“The application is also accompanied by supporting technical studies which demonstrates that the proposal does not have any adverse impacts which outweigh the benefits.

“There are also economic benefits arising from the development, accruing directly to the council and to the wider economy.

“It is noted that a number of objectors have stated as part of the sites’ consultation process that the site access is not controlled by the applicant of the proposed residential site at Fereneze, Barrhead.

“We contest this and can confirm that detailed legal analysis has been completed on the title and it has been confirmed that Gladman have a marketable title for the site, and unrestricted vehicle and pedestrian access into the site off Brownside Avenue.”

The application in principle isn’t expected to go before the council’s planning committee before March or April, next year.