PLANS for a “new Dungavel” were unanimously rejected as councillors hit out at the “rendition centre”.

Home Office plans to close the controversial South Lanarkshire site in favour of a purpose-built immigration detention next to Glasgow Airport provoked protest from human rights campaigners and local residents.

Yesterday, applause broke out from members of the public after Renfrewshire Council’s planning and property board voted down the plan, which attracted 300 objections.

The move comes despite a recommendation from planning officers to give it the green light.

Following the decision, Robina Qureshi of refugee and asylum seeker housing charity Positive Action in Housing, told The National: “This is a strong, unanimous ‘no’ from Scotland to UK detention on our soil.

“Renfrewshire Council has to be congratulated for taking a stand. Here is a local authority speaking up for refugees against the poisonous rhetoric so prevalent in sections of the press and south of the Border.

“The UK Government will have its tail between its legs.”

Campaigners, who had demonstrated outside before the start of the meeting, watched as councillors used local planning rules to block the development, which SNP councillor Iain Nicolson branded a “rendition centre”.

Nicolson, who represents Erskine and Inchinnan near to the proposed centre, said the Home Office had failed to establish grounds for building on the airport site.

Land there is earmarked for development which prioritises economic growth, but members said the “stigma” surrounding the facility would deter investment and protests similar to those seen at Dungavel would cripple the road network.

The Home Office said the facility would save public money, making it easier and cheaper to remove rejected asylum seekers from the UK, with individuals placed on planes to London, from where all repatriation flights take place, within a week of arrival. But councillors said the fact that buses or vans would be needed to take detainees to the airport proved the location was irrelevant.

Describing the logic used by the Home Office, Nicolson said by that argument he could “get permission to build a house because I choose to use a sports centre”.

Councillor Audrey Doig said detention was a “moral issue” and, following the vote, Labour councillor Terry Kelly, convener of the board, said: “There was clear concern it would be detrimental to the econ- omic development of the Glasgow Airport Investment Area, one of the key economic drivers for the city region. Members agreed that there was no established identifiable functional link between the proposal and Glasgow Airport’s operations.

“The proposed facility’s location in a commercial and industrial area would also introduce an inappropriate use through the attendant noise, activity and disturbance.”

Leonna O’Neill, founder of campaign group Stop Detention

Scotland, told The National: “We were worried it was going to slip through. We were expecting a longer campaign. If the Home Office objects, which it has a right to do, we will continue to fight it.”

West of Scotland Green MSP Ross Greer said: “This must be an oppor- tunity for Westminster to begin treating these vulnerable people with some dignity and respect. We’re not holding our breath, however, given that this is the same Home Office which paid for disgusting billboards telling refugees and immigrants to ‘go home’ and which regularly deports people back to situations where they are in clear danger.”

Last night the Home Office refused to say it whether it would appeal. A spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the decision of the planning committee. A new short-term holding facility in Scotland would provide a modern and secure facility for those with no right to be in the UK and would allow for the closure of Dungavel immigration removal centre.”