West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning committee has referred the application for a new Dumbarton FC stadium at Renton to the full council for determination with the provisional view that the application should be refused.

The club plans to quit its current ground in the shadow of the iconic Dumbarton Rock and build a new 4,000 capacity stadium at Young’s Farm, which would incorporate function suites, a supporters bar, club shop, changing facilities and a flexible space which could be used to provide hotel, office, gym or restaurant and café type uses.

The plans for the site also include related hospitality accommodation including a restaurant, a residential development of approximately 200 houses and a series of football pitches available for community use, which would provide dedicated training facilities for the club.

The report set out within the planning committee’s agenda for its March 21 meeting concluded that “whilst the improvement of local sporting facilities and a new stadium for Dumbarton FC are supported, the benefits are not sufficient to justify the release of additional land in the green belt for housing”.

It adds that “the new football stadium is now to be funded solely by the sale of land for housing at Young’s Farm” and “whilst there are planning and legal safeguards available to ensure that the funds raised from the sale of the land for housing are used for the new stadium, these mechanisms are unlikely to be either acceptable to the applicant or robust enough to ensure that a complete football stadium is achieved”.

Listed in the reasons for the refusal is also that the development site is remote and not easily accessible by active travel or sustainable means of transport, while insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the existing road network can accommodate the development.

Dumbarton FC’s official fan group, the Sonstrust, previously gave the green light for a new Renton stadium - if the team promises not to sell the current stadium before the new one opens.

In February, a vote of 300 Sonstrust members saw a “significant majority” agree to back the plans to transform the site at Young’s Farm into the club’s new 4,000 capacity home – if it is financially viable.

Responding to the planning committee’s report Simon Barrow, spokesperson for the Sonstrust, said: "The developers are giving assurances that planning concerns can be addressed in the interests of both the community and the club, and that the stadium relocation project will not only secure the future of Dumbarton FC but create first-class community sports facilities, benefit the local area significantly and create important commercial opportunities which we all need.

"Our members recently voted overwhelmingly to support the planning application for a new stadium, subject to the strict proviso that the current site cannot be sold until the new one is complete and usable.

“There are many who would prefer to stay at the Rock, but who are also realistic about the enormous benefits that could accrue from a relocation. This is about fans, the club, the council and the community holding its nerve on a crucial decision."

A total of 24 representations have been submitted in relation to the application with seven objecting to the proposal and 17 supporting the proposal.

Included in the objectors are two local community councils – Silverton and Overtoun, and Bonhill and Dalmonach, who state that the environmental and social costs of the development “far outweigh” any potential economic developments.

In a letter sent to West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning department, Silverton and Overtoun CC secretary Rose Harvie – who suggested Dalmoak Farm be investigated as a potential location – said: “It is our opinion that, from 200 private houses in the development, it is extremely unlikely that any child would walk to school from this site.

“It would certainly be possible for adult commuters to use the cycle tracks in daylight and good weather, and perhaps for a few people to use buses, both commuting to the station, and football fans on match days, but we would suggest it would be far more likely that most residents, and many football fans, would use their cars.”

Responding to the planning committee’s provisional view that the application should be refused, Ms Harvie said: “It’s a recommendation that is all it is. I will be attending and speaking to our objection and we just have to wait and see what happens.

“I obviously do hope that they will accept the recommendation for refusal, but it is out of our hands now and we have to wait and see what committee says.

“It has got to go through due planning process. We are pleased that there is a recommendation for refusal, but it is up to the committee and council. The report was well balanced and has taken all views into account.”