MORE than 100 Cardross residents attended a visit by a Scottish Government reporter this week to the site of a controversial proposed housing development in the village.

Malcolm Mahony, from the government’s directorate of planning and environmental appeals (DPEA), spent Monday, April 1 visiting the site at Kirkton Farm, to the north of the village, which is the subject of a proposal by Avant Homes for 140 new houses, and surrounding approach roads.

The company is currently seeking permission to change access arrangements to the planned development, moving the principal route to and from the site from Darleith Road to Barrs Road.

But the plans, met with widespread opposition, have been referred to the Scottish Government after Argyll and Bute Council cancelled a public hearing in October at Avant’s request.

READ MORE: Scottish Government to rule on delayed Cardross housing development.

Amanda Murray, of the Cardross Development Safe Access Group, said: “Mr Mahony explained that his purpose was to review the physical aspects of the site and the surrounding area.

“He walked around the site and listened to local people’s concerns regarding the many safety issues relating to both proposed routes to the site.

“The large turnout showed the level of opposition to a development of such a large size which would mean hundreds more vehicles using roads through a dense residential area and in the vicinity of the local primary school.

“All the villagers attending support the view of the Cardross Development Safe Access Group that neither Barrs Road nor Darleith Road can provide safe access to the proposed site.

“Avant asked for a three-month delay to the pre-determination hearing on Barrs Road ‘to facilitate ongoing discussions’  but the local community have not been afforded the opportunity of a public meeting.

“Avant are claiming grounds for the appeal as ‘non-determination’, but given that they requested the delay, our local councillors are as surprised about this as we are.

“We are concerned that due process is not being followed, and that the local community are not being given a voice.”

READ MORE: Helensburgh care home plans spark concern from residents.

Councillor David Kinniburgh, whose ward includes Cardross and who attended the reporter’s visit, said: “I was surprised by the numbers who were there, given that it was a Monday, but obviously there were a lot of representations to the original application.

“It was all perfectly amicable; he was there just to get the views of anybody making representations.

“Not everybody went up to the site with him, but he made sure there was a good mix of people and took in all the views that were expressed.

“There is a target date of May 9 for a decision by the Scottish Government, and Mr Mahony said he expected to be able to meet that target.”

Avant Homes said after the decision to refer to Holyrood: “This is an application to vary the details of an existing planning permission.

“The council did not determine the application within the statutory timescales, and so the matter has been passed to the Scottish ministers for consideration.

“This is an important development which will bring much needed housing to the local community and, subject to receiving planning consent, we wish to commence development of the site as soon as possible.”

Avant Homes was granted planning permission ‘in principle’ to develop the site at a meeting of Argyll and Bute’s planning, protective services and licensing committee in Cardross in January 2017.