PLANS for a detention centre for immigrant families near Glasgow Airport have been unanimously rejected by councillors.

The UK Home Office wanted to build a 51-bed "short-term holding facility" on Abbotsinch Road to house those awaiting removal from the country.

It came after the announcement in September that the controversial Dungavel removal centre in Lanarkshire was to close next year.

Renfrewshire Council planning officers had backed the proposals for the controversial cell block “subject to conditions”, sparking anger among human rights campaigners.

Nearly 300 letters of objection had been submitted to the local authority over the Home Office site.

But councillors unanimously refused the planning application to establish a facility with 20 bedrooms and ancillary accommodation to be used as a short-term immigration holding facility.

Councillors on a planning committee felt the new building, which was planned for construction on the site of a former British Airways social club, would be "detrimental to the economic development of the Glasgow Airport Investment Area", one of the key economic drivers for the region.  

Campaigners Stop Detention in Scotland who had a delegation at the meeting applauded the decision saying: "Today we won in Paisley, and we won't stop until all detention centres are closed!

"Amazing stuff and well done to everyone who came out and braved the cold for the demo, and to everyone who lodged an objection.  This may be the beginning of the fight, but amazing news!"

A report to the local authority’s planning board revealed details of the set-up and says 60 jobs would be created.

The accommodation would comprise a mix of single, double and four-person rooms, with a total of 51 bed spaces.

Twelve of the bedrooms are for men, five for women with one disability standard bedroom and bathroom.

“There will be provision for exercise and fresh air and the short-term holding facility will have sufficient amenities to care for detainees for up to one week — the maximum period allowed for detention in such an establishment, " said the report.

But the locals raised concerns over the ethics of building a new deportation point and there were worries over treatment, cost and rights.

Councillor Terry Kelly, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s planning and property policy board, said: “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.”

SNP MP Gavin Newlands has said Renfrewshire Council should be "congratulated for rejecting" planning permission.

Mr Newlands had previously said the closure of Dungavel and its replacement in a newer centre near the airport had raised serious concerns about the UK government’s plans to forcibly remove individuals from Scotland.

Mr Newlands said: “It was clear that the local community didn’t want any part in the UK government’s inhumane and ineffective approach towards immigration detention.

“The Prime Minister should take note of this decision and rethink her government’s approach towards immigration detention – a system which detains pregnant women and allows the indefinite detention of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

UK Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill had said the facility would provide easy access to London airports.

Dungavel House, the only such centre in Scotland, holds up to 249 detainees but is said to be under used because of its remote location.

Last year HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found that one resident had been held at Dungavel for two-and-a-half years.

Inspectors also highlighted concerns that vulnerable people, including alleged rape and torture victims, were being detained, despite a presumption they should be locked up only in exceptional circumstances.

An independent report published earlier this year said that the length of time people were being held was causing their mental health to deteriorate and warned of unacceptable accommodation as well as long waits to see a GP or dentist.