Over the years the field at the foot of the Fereneze Braes has been under continual threat of development for housing.
Latest Development Threat
SEE 2017 Planning Application for further details.
3 May 2018 – At a meeting of the full Council the planning application was refused.
4 December 2017 – Landman Developments Ltd submitted a planning application in principal to East Renfrewshire Council, Reference 2017/0784/TP. Details on the council’s Online Planning webpage by entering the reference number.
28 March 2017 – East Renfrewshire Council received a proposal of application notices from Gladman Developments for a residential development with associated engineering works and landscaping (major) in the field at Fereneze, off Brownside Avenue, Reference 2017/0198/PAN . A Public meeting was held on 18 April 2017 from 3-7pm at Arthurlie House, where the developers had their plans for the site on display for public consultation.
Historical Development Threats
In 2010 MacTaggart & Mickel Ltd put forward a proposal to build a housing development on the land. At the time East Renfrewshire Council knocked back planning permission for this but an appeal was made to the Scottish Government who appointed an Independent Reporter to examine the contents of the Plan. The Scottish Government Reporter then identified the site for inclusion in the 2011 Adopted Local Plan for housing.
East Renfrewshire Council had initially objected to the 2010 Proposal for the following reasons:
- the site was not needed to meet the five-year housing requirement.
- the site was not assessed favourably in the Local Plan Site Evaluation (TR/ERC/01) – page 446 – site reference ADD11. The proposal was for Greenfield development and would not be in accordance with national policy as set out in SPP3 which directs new housing development to Brownfield land.
- the site was deemed contrary to Strategic Policy 9, Assessment of Development Proposals, as there was no overall demand for further housing in the Greenbelt given the updated estimates of supply and demand.
- the site assessment found that development would affect the existing biodiversity value of the area. The site scored negatively against 8 of the criteria in the Strategic Environmental Assessment. The assessment score was -8 negative effects from a range of -14 to -1 and the site evaluation gave a score of 1 form a range of -7 to 7.
The report stated:
This area plays an important role in forming a backdrop to Barrhead and is an important area for recreation. Further development of this landscape area would impinge on the integrity of the landscape type and have negative influences on the landscape sitting of Barrhead. The site is located within land indentified as the Inner Green Belt (including sensitive wedges). Although the site is contained within well defined boundaries it would still result in a physical and visual intrusion into the Green Belt. The site makes a strong contribution to the containment of Barrhead an to the setting of the settlement.
2013 Development Threats
In 2013 East Renfrewshire Council released their Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) for 2014. It stated that the field, area SG1.5 Fereneze, Barrhead be zoned for a development of 40 houses. The Proposals map showing area SG1.5 can be seen on the East Renfrewshire Council website.
After consultation, objections and comments on the plan were to be submitted to the council between 6 February and 1 May 2013. Meetings were held by the local residents and others with an interest in the area to outline the proposals and discuss what could be done to prevent any future development on the land.
The main objections to this proposal were:
- It is greenbelt land rich in wildlife which should not be developed when there are plenty of brownfield sites as yet undeveloped, such as the nearby Shanks Park which had been identified as a strategic development opportunity for 400 housing units
- It is an important amenity area where local children play, for the people who stable their horses there, for dog-walkers and for people to access the hills and walking network beyond.
- Development would have a serious impact on the adjacent Brownside Braes, an area identified in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan as local priority habitat.
- Brownside Avenue is the only likely access route for a new development and this would have serious road safety implications. The road is steep, always has cars parked on either side and roads feeding on to it which often makes it difficult to negotiate. This would be a particular problem for large vehicles during the building stage. Also, with heavy snowfall, cars are unable to go up the hill and there is not space at the foot of the road to accommodate additional cars from a new development.
All the responses were considered by East Renfrewshire Council who recommended that the proposed housing development for the Fereneze Braes site be deleted and the area be re-designated as Green Belt. The Objections and Council recommendations can be downloaded from the East Renfrewshire Council website. Pages 161-162 cover the Fereneze site. The Council said:
“It is not viewed that the deletion of this site will have any negative impact upon the overall land supply position for Barrhead or across the Council area due to the sites longer term programming… New sites and the current site wil provide a suitable range and choice in Barrhead to meet local needs.”
There were no responses to the council in support of housing developments on the the site and it seemed that MacTaggart & Mickel Ltd, were no longer interested in developing the site.
The Council then submitted the responses and their recommendations to the Scottish Government for Examination and the Reporter came back with recommendations to the Council on changes that should be made to the Plan which can be read in the Summary Report. On this occasion the Scottish Reporter agreed with the Council recommendations and on Page 12 states:
“Delete housing site SG1.5 Fereneze, Barrhead and designate the site as both green belt and part of the green network on the proposals map.”
The Proposals Map for the Levern Valley Area, March 2015 now showing the Fereneze site designated as greenbelt and part of the green network can be seen on the East Renfrewshire Council website.
The field has been saved from development in the foreseeable future and will remain as part of the green network around Barrhead.