FEARS a piece of Barrhead and Neilston history could be destroyed to make way for housing have been eased.

Worried residents took to social media to raise concerns about Johnny Blue’s Well, on Springhill Road, as building work began on a 140-home development nearby.

Such was the extent of the rumours, some Facebook users considered launching a petition to ensure the area was preserved.

However, those fears have been allayed after it emerged East Renfrewshire Council (ERC)’s planning department has taken steps to protect the site.

Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor councillor Angela Convery was one of the first to dispel the rumours – and confirm the well would be incorporated into any future development.

She said: “I am happy to reassure residents that no development is planned on the site of the well.

“The agreed masterplan for Barrhead South shows that the area where the well stands would be part of any landscaping, should any future development proposal come forward.”

ERC approved an application from Miller Homes to build on a patch of land off Springhill Road and just south of the Jerry Park last September.

Work is now under way on the development, which will form part of the council’s larger plan for a 1,000-home “Barrhead South” complete with its own train station.

A number of theories claiming to explain the origin behind the name of Johnny Blue’s Well have emerged online.

According to an ERC document on guided walks in the region, the well earned its title from a “local print-worker who washed himself clean of blue dye in the well’s waters as he travelled home to Neilston”.

Although it has been out of use for a number of years, the well’s importance to residents of both Barrhead and Neilston was made clear by the number of Facebook users who posted messages in favour of safeguarding the site.

Calls to erect a plaque have also been met with approval from residents.

Marilyn Lindsay wrote: “It should be repaired as much as possible and any previous history on a plaque beside it and perhaps a bench where people can sit and rest and remember it as it was.

“If possible, make it vandal- proof. We all carry fond memories of Johnny Blue’s Well.”

Gillian Smith said: “We need to preserve this, too much disappears before we know it.”

While Harry J Harris added: “It needs restoring and marked as a historic site.”