INVERCLYDE councillors considering a major planning application for the old IBM Greenock site. have been told they can’t propose a big increase in the number of houses allowed.
Local businessmen Sandy and James Easdale, in conjunction with Advance Construction, want permission for up to 450 homes plus commercial, leisure, community and retail buildings on a large part of the site at Spango Valley.
The proposal was discussed by Inverclyde Planning Board today.
Councillor Jim McEleny moved that approval be given in principle and that up to 420 homes be permitted, instead of the limit of 270 houses set by officials.
He feared that, without more housing, the “exciting development” would be “killed stone dead” as it would not be financially viable.
However he was told his motion was incompetent becuase it would result in a development that was “significantly contrary” to Inverclyde’s Local Development Plan.
The board was advised that in order for his motion to be permissable, the application would have had to have been dealt with under different procedures, leading to a pre-deteremination hearing and a decision by the full council.
When Councillor McEleny moved for the matter to be switched to the hearing process, he was told that it was too late.
The number of houses allowed at the whole IBM site under Inverclyde planning policies is 420.
Planners have set 270 as the level suitable for the area of land owned by the Easdales. This leaves an allocation of housing permitted on the remainder of the site which has a different owner who has yet to submit plans.
Officials have been trying to get the two owners to work together on a comprehensive masterplan, without success.
Both landowners have voiced doubts over the level of commercial space required by planners saying it would not attract businesses given its distance from the motorway.
Inverclyde Planning Board voted 5:4 to visit the site and have a briefing from officials before taking a decision.