Renfrewshire councillors have been accused of "shocking hypocrisy" after deciding to adopt a Local Development Plan (LDP) which will allow housing to be built on a patch of treasured greenbelt land in Lochwinnoch while protecting other similar sites.
The blueprint was originally rubber-stamped by elected members in 2019, but has recently undergone an examination by an independent reporter appointed by the Scottish Government.
After reviewing a number of suggested modifications, the LDP will now be formally adopted by the council after members came to an agreement over housing sites by nine votes to six during a meeting.
Councillors resolved to throw out some of the reporters' recommendations by opting not to earmark green spaces at Thriplee Road in Bridge of Weir and Auchenlodment Road in Elderslie for new homes, while deciding to keep a former driving range in Rannoch Road, Johnstone, for future housing.
But campaigners in Lochwinnoch have slammed the local authority for keeping a field in the village's Burnfoot Road as part of the housing envelope.
Independent councillor Andy Doig, who represents the village, branded the administration "hypocritical" for ensuring some green sites were protected elsewhere while "ignoring" the views of Lochwinnoch residents.
He said: "In more than 40 years of political activism, I have never seen such a display of shocking hypocrisy.
"I moved an amendment which would have required the officers to formulate a whole new LDP as there were a number of controversial sites in Elderslie, Johnstone, Bridge of Weir, and Lochwinnoch, but this was defeated.
"Convener Marie McGurk moved that some of the controversial sites in Elderslie and Bridge of Weir were taken out, so why are the concerns of Lochwinnoch being ignored?"
Alan Bissett, of Lochwinnoch Community Council, insisted the community would stop at nothing in their fight to protect the Burnfoot Road site.
And he said residents would make a stand against any planning application which is brought forward.
"We are disappointed with the decision as this is a site which was once assessed as being unsuitable for housing, " added Mr Bissett.
“There is no reason why the council should not listen to us when we do not want this development.
“It looks as though we are now going to have to wait until the plans for housing come to the planning board now, when we will put forward the same objection.
“There are no supporters of this development in Lochwinnoch and it is within the legally-recognised boundary of Clyde Muirshiel Park. There are no grounds for building on that.
“Until there are diggers on the site, we will keep protesting against it.”
The council will now notify Scottish ministers of its intention to adopt the LDP, including the modifications agreed.
Council leader Iain Nicolson said there was work ongoing to try and better protect land within Clyde Muirshiel Park.
He said: "I understand local campaigners may be disappointed. However, the process for the LDP is a legal one and if anyone had been able to produce valid reasons as per the legislation at this stage, it would have been taken into consideration.
"The issue of Clyde Muirshiel is one the local SNP councillor Emma Rodden and myself have been looking into with regards to provisions that explicitly deal with development inside the park boundary. The Countryside Act 1981 only makes reference to planning applications.
"However, now the issue has been raised by the community, it does show a clear deficit on policies specific to the park with regards to managing development. We are actively looking to bring forward policies to remedy this.
"The new LDP covers the whole of Renfrewshire and offers protection for vast swathes of greenbelt. We are required to meet national quotas for new-build housing and the LDP prioritises brownfield over greenfield. Where the quota can’t be met from brownfield, the LDP manages the process of greenfield release. There are a number of sites being released from the greenbelt to meet that quota. These are assessed through a two-year consultation process.
"Elected members and the public have every opportunity to challenge the process. It’s for Councillor Doig to explain why he was absent from the meeting when Burnfoot Road was first brought forward as a site for potential housing development."