KILMACOLM residents have hailed victory in the first stage of their battle to stop housing developers moving in on the village.

They successfully persuaded the planning board to unanimously refuse an application by Gladman to build 100 houses on greenbelt land.

At a hearing held in the town hall yesterday, local people and councillors rounded on ‘speculative developers’.

On the back of 1,120 objections they successfully blocked housebuilding in the Knapps and North Denniston beauty spots along Bridge of Weir Road.

But now Kilmacolm Community Council’s chairman Mike Jefferis says they will have to fend off another three separate proposals.

Mr Jefferis, who spoke against the plans at the meeting, said: “It is one down, three to go.

“We will be fighting all of the applications.

“The village was united and I think all the objections show this.”

The community council will now put up the same fight to stop Gladman trying to develop in neighbouring Quarrier’s Village, as well as opposing two more applications in Kilmacolm from housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and MacTaggart and Mickel.

Mr Jefferis added: “We will be objecting to them for all the same reasons.”

During the hearing Mr Jefferis, along with the Kilmacolm Residents’ Association and the Kilmacolm Civic Trust, highlighted a catalogue of reasons for refusing permission for the development.

They attacked the developer’s claims that it would meet demand for housing.

Objectors argued that it would open the floodgates in the Knapps and Denniston for other companies.

Inverclyde Council planning officers had recommended the application should be refused, saying it failed to meet planning policy.

Kilmacolm Residents’ Association representative Frances Hughes Fulton added: “It a great open space where children play, people walk their dogs and there is the agricultural show.

“It is also one of the most beautiful entrances to a village that you will find anywhere in Scotland.

“We urge the council to object to this in the strongest possible terms.”

Councillor Drew McKenzie, an independent who lived in Kilmacolm for many years, took aim at Gladman and the landowners.

He said: “The Knapps and North Denniston land is simply sacrosanct.

“I think the landowners are custodians of this land rather than owners.

“It is upon them to protect for future generations.”

Planning board convenor and ward councillor David Wilson moved to refuse the planning application.

Developers Gladman also faced criticism from members of the planning board for failing to show up at the hearing.

The unanimous opposition to the proposal from all speakers and councillors was widely applauded from members of the public who attended the hearing.

But it’s believed the company behind the bid may challenge the decision to refuse permission.

Mr Jefferis said: “Gladmans will undoubtedly appeal this.”