ANGRY residents have staged a protest in a bid to protect greenbelt land at Kilmacolm Meadows from being developed.

The Kilmacolm Residents’ Association noticed that Mactaggart and Mickel, who own the land, had sent in a digger to to the meadow, west of Quarry Drive.

Inverclyde councillors agreed to remove the meadow site from the Local Development Plan in March.

Residents are incensed that the views of the local community are being ignored and that work is now being carried out on the greenbelt site.

Antony Vitrano, chairman of the association, said: “We found out the contractors are going to dig 18 massive holes in our greenbelt, wrecking an area that is rich in nature and wildlife - all without planning approval.”

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes confirmed that they were going to submit a planning application in the coming weeks and say it is standard practice to instruct a number of ‘technical reports including a site investigation’.

Craig Ormond, director at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, said: “The council’s Main Issues Report highlighted a new housing requirement for the village and it identified this Mactaggart & Mickel-owned site at Quarry Drive as the preferred housing option.

“In March the Inverclyde committee voted to approve the proposed Local Plan but with amendments, including that the Quarry Drive site be removed. No replacement housing sites were agreed.

“We are disappointed with this decision, particularly given this was deemed to be the preferred site with the least impact on the village.

“We are continuing to pursue our case and propose to submit a planning application in the coming weeks. As is standard practice, we have instructed a number of technical reports including a site investigation.”

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan has met with the residents’ association and the community council to discuss the possible housing developments in the village.

He said: “Having previously attended the public meeting in Kilmacolm on the issue of proposed housing developments in the area, I am fully aware of the strength of feeling, particularly from Kilmacolm Residents’ Association, against such plans.

“Any housing development proposals for Kilmacolm should be considerate of local residents’ views and also be aware of the environment and greenbelt land.

“I will continue to make representations on behalf of local constituents who contact me on the issue.”