ALMOST 100 new homes WILL be built in Duntocher thanks to a shock decision from the Scottish Government.

Despite near unanimous opposition and years of efforts to block the green belt development, the government's planning reporter gave their blessing to Barratt Homes yesterday.

Duntiglennan Fields has been a repeated flashpoint between housing firms and residents who foresee disruption, loss of open spaces and traffic chaos off Farm Road.

But the planning reporter said all those concerns were secondary to meeting a short-term shortfall in a mandated supply of new private homes.

A total of 99 properties now look set to be built at the top of the Clydebank.

West Dunbartonshire Council leader Jonathan McColl denounced the decision for trampling over the "rights and needs" of the community.

Council officials said they were still examining the 30-page decision.

Councillor McColl said: "Not for the first time, the Scottish planning reporter has trampled on the needs and rights of a local community in West Dunbartonshire.

"Local democracy is dead under the current system, which needs to be urgently reformed lest further damaging decisions rooted in ignorance of local communities be made.

"I do not yet know what, if anything, can be done at this stage.

"I have asked our planning officers to investigate our legal position over the coming weeks, with a view to finding a way to challenge this nonsensically decision.

"This may not be possible, but our constituents who are affected by this decision would expect me as their council leader to exhaust every option, and that is what I intend to do."

Read more: Duntocher homes bid at Duntiglennan Fields hits stumbling block

This is not the first time the planning reporter has sided with private housing firms.

They approved a Taylor Wimpey plan for Duntiglennan more than five years ago despite unanimous votes by councillors and local opposition.

The council's solution was to avoid adopting local development plan for the entire area so they could continue to protect the green belt.

When they set up a new local development plan (LDB2), they denied Duntiglennan for housing.

Then Barratt made a housing bid last year and shortly before councillors rejected it, Barratt appealed on the grounds the local authority was taking too long.

The Scottish Government then surprised neighbours in May by agreeing to protect the space from development. Their reporters said the short-term gap in new homes would be offset ultimately by sites such as Queens Quay.

A new planning reporter, looking at the appeal, considered the same factors as colleagues and reached the opposite conclusion.

They wrote: "I find that the contribution that the development would make to help meeting the identified housing land shortfall in Clydebank is a significant material consideration that justifies granting planning permission in this case; and that there are no adverse impacts which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development."

Clydebank Post:

Clydebank's MSP, Gil Paterson, said: "When the original decision was made by the reporter five years or so ago, at that time I said it was the wrong decision and nothing has changed my mind.

"It is still the wrong decision. I see problems with major congestion at the bottom of Farm Road in the future.”

Green MSP Ross Greer said: 'The planning system is rigged in favour of developers, it's as simple as that.

"They have a right to appeal but communities do not. Clydebank is the latest community to fall victim to that. The Scottish Greens and Labour tried to change this in 2018 by giving communities an equal right of appeal.

"Clydebank's SNP and Conservative MSPs voted this proposal down, so their complaints today ring pretty hollow."

The full decision can be found at the government's website.