A decision on a planning application for luxury houses on green-belt land at Yieldshields, near Carluke, was postponed on Tuesday.
Officials had recommended that the plans should be approved, defying their own policies and despite 25 letters of objection from neighbours.
Residents argue that the planned five houses will increase the size of the hamlet by almost a fifth.
They point to guidelines stating that such building in green areas should be allowed only in areas of shortfall, arguing that there is no such shortage in Clydesdale.
The objectors had asked that councillors visit the site before making a decision.
The planning application, submitted by Braidwood Estates, is for five detached houses, four with five bedrooms and one with four bedrooms, all fronting Yieldshields Road at the settlement’s edge.
All are described as one-and-a-half-storey buildings.
Scottish planning policy says planners should direct development to the right places, encouraging the re-use of brownfield sites, and objectors stated that there were already significant areas identified for housing in nearby Carluke in the council’s own local development plan, which classes the Yieldshields site as green belt.
In their response, planners acknowledged that land had been identified to meet the needs of the Clydesdale housing market over the next five years, including a number of sites in Carluke big enough for volume house builders, but the Yieldshields plans “involved a small-scale development which would have a negligible impact on the housing land supply” and should be considered on their merits.
The objectors argue that these are not exceptional enough circumstances for the council to be justified in setting aside its own policy.
They say that the green belt keeps Yieldshields’ integrity as a separate settlement and that new housing there could lead to it being subsumed into Carluke.
But the planners’ response was that the development is of a small area on the edge of Yieldshields, and the new houses would help to create “a logical long-term defensible boundary” in that part of the settlement.
“What is the point of having policy if it is to be set aside, and what is the point of neighbour notification if local community opinion on material considerations are not taken on board?” one of the objectors commented on Tuesday.
The matter was postponed to the next meeting of the planning committee as one neighbour had not received official notification of the plans.