DIGGERS have been spotted carrying out work on a site earmarked for a controversial 1200 house building project on greenbelt land ...
before publication of the results of a public consultation into local development.
Furious residents say East Renfrewshire Council's consultation on a document known as the, "Main Issues Report," contains an option for a large-scale housing development on the site, at Maidenhill, Newton Mearns.
They fear that despite more than 1000 objections to the ideas outlined in the report, development is pressing ahead without proper consultation.
However, the council insist there is no need for any kind of permission for the work taking place at Maidenhill.
And they also say that no permission has yet been granted to build houses on the site.
Local resident and campaigner Caroline Viney said: "The contractors for the developer were on site doing some digging, and some of us have taken photographs.
"The Main Issues Report that's been put out to consultation – there's been no agreement on that, 1400 people have objected to that.
"People feel that they're being ignored and it's just going ahead in terms of preparing the site before a proper consultation.
"The council will say that the owner of the site is allowed to do what they want on it, but are they allowed to build houses if 1400 people are saying they object?
"The Main Issues Report is a consultation, not a planning application.
"We don't have the infrastructure here to cope with 1200 new homes. The health centre isn't big enough, the schools aren't big enough."
But East Renfrewshire Council insist there is no link between the work being carried out on-site, and the options being considered in the Main Issues Report.
A council spokeswoman said: "The work referred to is not being carried out on behalf of the council, nor is it being undertaken with the council's knowledge.
"As this land is privately owned, the landowner does not require the council's consent to undertake this activity.
"The site does not have any planning consent for residential or any other form of development."
The site at Maidenhill is split and owned separately by property developers Taylor Wimpey and Cala.
Marlaine Lavery, Strategic Land and Planning Manager for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: "Taylor Wimpey can confirm that it owns land at the most southern part of Maidenhill in Newton Mearns.
"However it can also confirm that no preparatory or investigative works involving heavy plant machinery has been instructed on its part of the site.
"East Renfrewshire Council is considering this site as an option for a potential development site in the future, however this still has to go through the local development plan process.
"Taylor Wimpey will continue to work alongside them to investigate the best development options available for this site.
"Taylor Wimpey is fully committed to proactively engaging and consulting with all local stakeholders on its proposals, to ensure that any proposed development on its land contributes positively to the area."
And a spokesman for CALA Homes (West) said: "CALA is undertaking early exploratory site works at Maidenhill to determine ground condition at this location."