At the start of this month the Court of Session issued its long awaited decision on Duntiglennan Fields.

West Dunbartonshire Council appealed against the Scottish Government’s decision to allow developers to build up to 100 houses on our protected precious greenbelt in Duntocher and Hardgate.

Many politicians have expressed their shock and disappointment at the outcome of this appeal. However, I go beyond this, I am absolutely furious.

I am furious for my constituents, the residents of the surrounding streets who will be affected by the Scottish Government’s decision which destroys completely any pretence that local planning decisions are made by councillors directly elected by their community to represent the views of their community.

Absolutely everyone at West Dunbartonshire Council has remained united in our determination not only to protect our greenbelt but to protect the very important principle of local democracy which the Scottish Government’s decision seeks to erode.

I would like to thank and acknowledge our council officials across both our planning and legal departments for all their support and hard work with the appeal case so far.

I would also wish to place on record my thanks to Council Leader Jonathan McColl, who has been absolutely first class in his handling of this issue.

Councillor McColl, both as opposition leader and now as leader of the administration, has always fully supported me and my Labour colleague, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill because this goes beyond natural political dividing lines. He believes, like me, that the decision we made together locally in the interests of our community, is the correct decision and I commend him for this.

There is absolutely no need to build on our precious greenbelt against the wishes of the residents of Duntocher and Hardgate.

Collectively as a council we will now decide what our next move should be. We will seek advice again from our planning officers and our legal advisers both internally and externally. A report will come to West Dunbartonshire Council next week where we shall debate and decide if we can continue to challenge the Scottish Government. I remain resolute that we should fight on, and if there is any further route of appeal, then we should take it. I will keep my promise to my constituents that I will always fight to protect the Duntiglennan Fields and our surrounding greenbelt.