Campaigners are claiming a "major milestone" in a referendum which they say shows clear opposition for one of Scotland's biggest proposed demolition projects.

A ballot returned by 181 households indicated that 75% were against the demolition of four 26-storey towers at Wyndford in the Maryhill area of Glasgow being carried out by Scotland's biggest housing association, the Wheatley Group.

Glasgow City Council is already facing a new court action fter rejecting calls for an environmental impact assessment on the plans which meant the demolition can go ahead without councillors ever considering whether it should get planning permission.

They previously won a judicial review over the council's actions, with judge Lord Lake ruling, following a concession from the council, that "adequate reasons" were "not provided" in terms of the law surrounding use of impact assessments in decision-making campaigners won.

The 'people's vote' carried out by independent poll services firm UK Engage for the Wyndford Residents Union in March said that some £73m was being invested in the Wyndford and that Wheatley "proposes using this money to demolish 600 homes and the community centre". It asked: "Should this money be used instead to renovate 600 social homes and the community centre as well as build new social homes".

Some 75% of the 181 poll papers received voted 'yes' while some 24.71% voted 'no'.

Nick Durie of the union said: "It is a victory. The position over demolition is crumbling. This is a major milestone".

But Wheatley said: “This stunt by a small group of activists has absolutely no validity and was nothing more than an attempt to overturn the results of a community consultation, overseen by an independent body, which showed 85% of Wyndford tenants are in favour of the regeneration plans."

The residents union  believe the flats can be safely retained and retrofitted. But Wheatley say that it is too difficult and expensive.

The Herald: Wyndford Flats Protest -William Doolan with fellow residents. Picture by Stewart Attwood.

Wheatley say its consultation with over 1400 tenants in the community was carried out between November 2021 and January 2022 and showed 85% of tenants in Wyndford who replied voted in favour of the blocks being demolished – with 87% of tenants in the four blocks also supporting the plans.

They say all four blocks are now empty and being prepared for demolition.

Wheatley said all tenants in the four blocks have since moved to "new and better homes" in Wyndford or in other areas of their choice.

Campaigners have launched a new judicial review to fight the demolition saying the action to avoid the assessment was "disregarding the law of the land" and "irrational" which is expected to be heard this summer.

The city council is already facing a £10,000 legal costs bill after admitting it erred in law over a previous decision that meant the demolition could go ahead effectively without a full assessment of the environmental consequences of the plan.

The council says an assessment is not required because the demolition is "not likely to have significant effect on the environment".

The campaigners previously won a court battle over the council's actions, with judge Lord Lake ruling, following a concession from the council, that "adequate reasons" were "not provided" in terms of the law surrounding use of impact assessments in decision-making campaigners won.

The council said it had agreed a joint minute that its decision on not having an impact assessment erred in law only by "failing to adequately explain the basis" of it.

The minute stated that the council "acknowledge... that the interests of [the campaigners] were prejudiced by a failure to comply with the relevant requirements and that for this reason alone the decision may properly be quashed by the court".

The Herald: 171 is one of four tower blocks in Wyndford that are earmarked for demolition. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Campaigners had seen the judgement as a victory in their fight to what is now £100m development plans.

In the new legal battle, the campaigners' solicitors said that the council has applied the "wrong test" for deciding that an EIA was not required.

It says the correct test is that the project is likely to "have significant effects on the environment".

The campaigners' legal team are negotiating with the council's lawyers over a future Court of Session date to thrash out the arguments.

The Wyndford blocks were earmarked for demolition by the Wheatley Group which wanted to replace the existing 600 social housing units with 386 affordable homes, 85% of which were originally planned for social rent.

Wyndford estate was designed by Ernest Buteux, chief technical officer for the Scottish Special Housing Association (SSHA) from 1959-78. He was thought to be influenced by the designs of Le Corbusier – the father of modern architecture. It was built on a 55 acre site at the old Maryhill barracks, was estimated to cost £4m.

The anti-demolition campaign is backed by leading Scottish architects Alan Dunlop, Kate Macintosh and Malcolm Fraser.

The union describe the vote as a landmark decision which represents a "wrecking ball" to the plans.

A Wheatley spokesman said: “We made a promise to the tenants in the four blocks who moved away they could return to Wyndford in future and have priority for one of the hundreds of new homes being built. To ignore the clear views of our tenants and break our promises would be a gross betrayal of their trust.

“The question in the activists’ consultation was misleading and inaccurate – and has absolutely no legal standing. Tenants who previously lived in the four blocks did not get a vote.

“We want to assure our tenants we will carry out their wishes and deliver on our promises to invest £100m in Wyndford and build nearly 400 much-needed new affordable homes.”

In response to the referendum, Wheatley also produced a statement from Chris Quinn, co-chair of the Wyndford Futures Focus Group (WFFG).

It said: “The views of the WFFG and the tenants we represent are clear: we are 100% behind the plans to demolish the four blocks and to build over 380 new affordable homes, 85% which will be for social rent.

“We’ve carried out three public surveys for everyone in Wyndford, including homeowners and private tenants, and the results showed the wider neighbourhood is fully in support of the massive improvements, including creating better green spaces, parking and bin areas. “This regeneration will shape our community for the better, not only for the people who live here today, but for families and generations to come.”