A JUDICIAL review should be carried out to thwart a shock decision by the government to impose 99 new homes in Duntocher, says a local councillor.

Douglas McAllister denounced the Scottish planning reporter approving the development of Duntiglennan Fields off Farm Road.

The Kilpatrick councillor also slammed the decision at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Clydebank leaders and residents were shocked by the abrupt U-turn to back the Barratt Homes development on Thursday, just months after the same government office decided against it for West Dunbartonshire's local development plan (LDP2).

Council leader Jonathan McColl declared "local democracy is dead" under the current planning system. The local authority is examining the decision, which comes after more than five years of battling to protect the green belt land.

Councillor McAllister told the Post: "This is a disgusting decision by the Scottish Government. To suggest that building on the green belt of Duntocher will have no adverse impact on the community is appalling.

"The infrastructure of the area cannot sustain a development of this scale. Farm Road is already heavily congested without adding a further 100 houses.

"However, what is more concerning is the manner by which the Scottish Government has overturned a unanimous decision of the entire council. At the height of the Covid-19 crisis the government officials have sneaked through a decision in favour of a major national developer against the wishes of the people of Duntocher, against the settled view of all elected councillors and against the professional opinion of our local planners.

"What is the point of the local planning process and what is the point of our new local development plan protecting our green belt if the Scottish Government can simply impose this on the community of Duntocher and a Hardgate?"

Cllr McAllister said his understanding was that Barratt Homes had exploited a procedural error by planning officials.

The housing firm appealed, before a decision was made, that the council was taking too long to decide. The planning reporter, looking at the same analysis of the area as colleagues in their office and at the same time, drew the opposite conclusion.

Read more: Duntiglennan Fields: Scottish Government approves 99 new Duntocher homes

Cllr McAllister said: "I expect our planning department to fight back. I also expect our council lawyers to challenge this.

"My Labour colleague, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, and I will be demanding that West Dunbartonshire Council fight this shocking decision by every route possible, and if that means judicial review then so be it.

"The council leader has always been incredibly supportive of us on this matter and I know he shares my view that this is about preserving the principles of local democracy. I promise to work hand in hand with him to fight this."

Cllr McAllister also urged Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson, who has labelled the reporter's conclusion the "wrong decision", to join their fight ahead of his retirement in May.

He added: "Cllrr O’Neill and I made a promise to the people of Duntocher, Hardgate and Faifley that we will fight with every fibre of our being to protect our green belt and we intend to honour that."

The full decision against Duntocher and West Dunbartonshire Council can be found at the government's website.