PLANS to build a £15million luxury retirement village in East Renfrewshire have been rejected by the Scottish Government.

Caldwell Developments submitted proposals to convert 18th-century Caldwell House into independent and assisted living accommodation for older people.

The development of the A-listed building near Uplawmoor would have included a 60-bed care home, 51 assisted living flats and 122 bungalows, as well as offices, a cafe, a shop and a hair and beauty salon.

Councillors in East Renfrewshire turned down the application in September, despite their own officials recommending that the scheme should go ahead.

Caldwell Developments then lodged an appeal with the Scottish Reporter – an arm of the Scottish Government.

However, that appeal has now been dismissed.

Councillors had raised concerns over the impact the development could have on local health services, including GP surgeries, as well as damage to ancient woodland on the Caldwell Estate by tree felling.

Scottish Forestry and The Woodland Trust also objected to the loss of large chunks of woodland.

However, Historic Environment Scotland backed the plans to restore Caldwell House.

In a nine-page judgement, David Liddell, who was appointed to consider the appeal, stated: "I have significant concerns about the sustainability of creating what in effect would be a new settlement in the countryside.

"My view is that the fairly isolated rural location is unsuitable for the nature of the development proposed.

"Greater weight requires to be given to the adverse effects associated with the significant numbers of vehicle trips which would be generated.

"I therefore conclude there are no material considerations which would justify granting planning permission."

Caldwell House was built for the wealthy Mure family but was converted into a hospital in 1927.

It was later used as a children’s home until 1985.

A decade later, a serious fire gutted the interior and caused the roof to cave in.

East Renfrewshire Council then stepped in and carried out repairs to make it safe.

The historic building has remained empty since.

Caldwell Developments now has the option of raising an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh – Scotland's highest court – in a bid to have the Scottish Reporter's decision overturned.

Bob Salter, of Caldwell Developments, said: "There is disappointment on our part at the decision to reject planning permission and we are meeting to consider our options.

"My concern is that the decision reached could apply to every other listed building in Scotland and make it very difficult for Scotland's heritage to be restored in rural areas."