NEARLY 100 new private homes can be built on a controversial site on the edge of Duntocher, a court has ruled.

In a stunning defeat for residents, local elected politicians and West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC), the Court of Session decided on Tuesday that the Scottish Government was right to grant permission to Barratt Homes for the development at Duntiglennan Fields.

A hearing on the case in July was the culmination of years of opposition from the community to attempts to build on greenbelt land.

At July's hearing the QC representing WDC, who appealed against the government, had called the planning reporter's original conclusion "perverse".

READ MORE: Duntiglennan Fields: Court of Session case hinges on single bullet point

The six-hour virtual hearing hinged on a single bullet point. Public housing policies for the west of Scotland run to hundreds of pages but the dispute centred around just a handful of paragraphs.

Barratt Homes applied to build 99 homes, then appealed to the Scottish Government when the council didn't make a speedy decision.

Councillors rejected the company's application, and a local development plan stated the area was protected greenbelt.

But the government's planning reporter decided a short-term private housing shortfall meant the homes should be approved.

The council appealed to the highest Scottish court, where their QC pointed out "Clydebank" doesn't even appear in the regional housing document, Clydeplan.

On Tuesday, Lord Carloway, Lord President of the Court of Session, sitting with Lord Menzies and Lord Turnbull ruled that the planning reporter was right to ignore the "literal or strict" approach to deciding a proposed development.

They said, "it ought to have been clear to the appellants that, sooner or later, a decision-maker would be required to make a finding" on whether the minimum supply of private housing was met across the Greater Glasgow North West (GGNW) area.

Clydebank is included under this Greater Glasgow area for private housing while Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven are a separate area.

The West Dunbartonshire Council area has separate social housing demand and supply targets.

In their 20-page judgement, the judges concluded: "The appellants object to the reporter recording that they accepted that there had been a failure to meet the required provision in Clydebank. The appellants place undue reliance on this point.

"The reporter’s ultimate reasoning, that the shortfall in Clydebank was sufficient to establish, as a matter of probability, a shortfall in the GGNW [housing sub-market area] as a whole cannot, on this basis, be faulted.

"The appeal must also fail on this more formal basis."