ANGRY campaigners say they have been betrayed by Inverclyde Council after developers got the go-ahead to build on greenbelt land in Kilmacolm.

Bill Crookston, chair of Kilmacolm Residents' Association, said the group fought doggedly to protect the greenbelt over the years and never thought they would end up defeated by their own local authority.

He hit out after developers MacTaggart and Mickel succeeded in their bid to build 78 houses at Kilmacolm Meadow, west of Quarry Road, by a vote of 8-4 at a tense full council meeting.

Mr Crookston said: "The Kilmacolm Residents' Association have fought the volume housebuilders for years but never thought that we'd be beaten by our own council.

"I think it's the wrong decision."

Mr Crookston identified a Court of Session ruling against the council last year as the pivotal moment in the battle over the site.

He said: "The effect of the ruling was to leave Inverclyde Council without a housing land policy and it opened up a free-for-all in which it would be difficult for them to refuse any planning application for housing development, however unwelcome."

But Bill and his fellow activists intend to fight on.

A total of 487 objections were lodged over the plan and the three local councillors - Stephen McCabe, David Wilson and Chris Curley - all voted against the development.

Bill told the Tele that one part of the site, owned by the council, would need to be be used for access to the development - and it could only be sold after public consultation.

He said: "We might have lost this battle but we haven't lost the war.

"The number of objections shows the strength of feeling."

Margaret McVea (correct), 83, lives in Meadow Court, next to the proposed site and says she is 'upset' by it.

She said: "I've lived in the village all my life and my father farmed this meadow.

"I'm disgusted by the very idea.

"What about the wildlife?

"It will ruin the village and it's not necessary - there are so many houses for sale."