Public hearing called on major Scottish scheme

Scottish ministers have ordered the first public hearing on a structure plan for more than 20 years to study the redevelopment of a huge derelict site near Glasgow.

Developers plan to decontaminate the 943ha site of a former Royal Ordnance factory at Bishopton in Renfrewshire, close to the River Clyde, before building 2,500 homes, a business area and woodland park.

The plan would entail changes to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley structure plan to redesignate the land as a community growth area. But it has prompted 2,000 objections from local residents.

The Scottish Executive has invoked its powers to call a public examination of any proposals that may affect its consideration of the structure plan.

It is the first time since the early 1980s that a public hearing has been held on a structure plan. The two issues for scrutiny are whether contamination is serious enough to prevent a housing development and whether road and railway links can cope.

RTPI executive board member and former structure plan team manager Vincent Goodstadt commented: "It is a brownfield site and therefore people want to know that the decontamination has been carried out properly. It is a sensible thing for the executive to do."

A spokesman for developers BAE Systems and Redrow Group said the hearing would be welcome. "We recognise that there is concern among a section of the community in Bishopton about aspects of the regeneration proposals and we acknowledge the value in Scottish ministers undertaking an open public examination," he added.

The public proceedings, led by an inquiry reporter, will be held in the spring and are expected to be completed within two weeks. A decision is anticipated from the executive later next year.

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