A PUBLIC inquiry into the future of a well-known Paisley pub has been postponed because of a legal row over TREES.
The owners of the Stanely Firs pub, in Amochrie Road, Foxbar, had applied to Renfrewshire Council to demolish the old boozer and build a new pub, restaurant, five shops and a bookies on the site.
However, there was a high profile campaign by residents against the plans, with more than 170 objections sent to the council.
In October 2007, the proposals were booted out by councillors, despite being backed by the local authority’s planning officials.
Eadie Cairns Ltd, owners of the site, then lodged an appeal against that decision and a public inquiry was due to get under way at the Watermill Hotel in Paisley earlier this week.
But the inquiry has now been postponed because of an ongoing legal dispute over the felling of two trees at the site.
The council received a phone call from a member of the public last month to tell them workers had cut down two trees at the pub.
An inspection by council officials found the trees which were targeted were protected by a Tree Preservation Order and this led to the council starting legal proceedings against Eadie Cairns Ltd.
One of the reasons for rejecting the initial planning application was concern over a significant loss of mature trees which, according to council chiefs, form an important part of the local landscape.
The trees around the former pub were immediately put under a Tree Preservation Order, with the exception of 11 which had to be chopped down for health and safety reasons.
However, the two that were brought down last month were protected, which is why council bosses have alerted the procurator fiscal and entered into legal proceedings.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government’s directorate of planning and environmental appeals said: “The public inquiry which was due to start on March 10 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
“We are aware of legal proceedings between the appellant Eadie Cairns and Renfrewshire Council which has led to the inquiry being postponed.
“Once the legal proceedings have been dealt with, a new date will be set for the public local inquiry.”
The Stanely Firs pub closed without warning in March 2007 and local people have complained that, since then, the site has become an eyesore.
Workers turned up to start their shift but were met with closed shutters and loyal customers weren’t even allowed in for one last pint at their favourite pub. Residents in Foxbar who object to the retail development by Eadie Cairns Ltd have said they are worried about an increase in litter and anti-social behaviour.
Among those who objected to the development were Foxbar Elderly Forum, the Foxbar Road Shopkeepers’ Association, the Hollybrook Residents’ Association, Kirktonholme Nursery and Gleniffer High School Board.
Councillor Lorraine Cameron, who represents the Paisley South West ward, has also protested against the development.