Park of Keir work to ‘start in spring’

Judy sets out timetable for £40m scheme

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

A de­sign and busi­ness plan for the con­tro­ver­sial Park of Keir sport and leisure de­vel­op­ment is near­ing com­ple­tion, ac­cord­ing to key backer Judy Mur­ray.

The mum of mul­ti­ple Grand Slam-win­ning cham­pi­ons Andy and Jamie ex­pects work to start on the £40m scheme around Easter of next year and take two years to com­plete.

A ten­nis and golf cen­tre, mu­seum, 19 lux­ury houses plus a 150-bed ho­tel is planned for green belt land be­tween Dun­blane and Bridge of Al­lan.

How­ever, crit­ics of the scheme claim Ms Mur­ray’s com­ments are rid­dled with “omis­sions and mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions” and they be­lieve the fi­nanc­ing of the pro­ject is still not clear.

The Park of Keir de­vel­op­ment was ap­proved by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment last Au­gust de­spite an in­de­pen­dent Re­porter, who chaired a pub­lic in­quiry into the pro­posal, rec­om­mend­ing re­fusal.

Scot­tish Min­is­ters said they would grant the ap­pli­ca­tion – which prompted more than 1000 ob­jec­tions – pro­vid­ing the de­vel­op­ers agreed to a num­ber of con­di­tions.

These in­clude: se­cur­ing ed­u­ca­tion and af­ford­able hous­ing con­tri­bu­tions; an agree­ment that no fur­ther res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment would be un­der­taken on the wider site, and ar­range­ments to en­sure the sports fa­cil­i­ties are af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble to the gen­eral pub­lic.

Since then the coun­cil has been ne­go­ti­at­ing with Park of Keir Part­ners and their agents to agree the word­ing of the le­gal obli­ga­tion.

Ms Mur­ray last week told a na­tional news­pa­per her team were close to se­cur­ing a Sec­tion 75 agree­ment which will al­low work to start.

Such agree­ments set out fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions which de­vel­op­ers have to make to­wards schools, roads, trans­port, af­ford­able hous­ing, etc, if de­vel­op­ments are to go ahead.

Ms Mur­ray was quoted as say­ing: “We have to get a Sec­tion 75 from Stir­ling Coun­cil and we have got to nail down ev­ery sin­gle thing that is be­ing asked of us and we are very close now.

“It will be a mix of sport and leisure and the leisure el­e­ments will make the money that will al­low us to make the sport, golf and ten­nis af­ford­able.

“We have set the whole thing up as a char­i­ta­ble trust. It isn’t a com­mer­cial ven­ture for any­one. Prof­its that are gen­er­ated in time are re-in­vested in the fa­cil­ity and it is a sport and leisure fa­cil­ity for the im­me­di­ate catch­ment area.”

Ms Mur­ray said those who were against it “made a lot of noise while the peo­ple who are for it don’t say any­thing”.

“Once we’ve fi­nalised the de­sign, we’ll have some­thing to show peo­ple and I do think when peo­ple see it they will go ‘wow’,” she added.

She be­lieves the de­vel­op­ment will open up Park of Keir to the gen­eral pub­lic. “At the mo­ment hardly any­body walks on it,” she was quoted as say­ing.

Spokesper­son for Park of Keir protest group RAGE, Inga Bullen, was of the view the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the de­vel­op­ers and the coun­cil had been “shrouded in se­crecy” even though coun­cil­lors wanted them to be open and trans­par­ent.

Ms Bullen added: “There were so many omis­sions and mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions in what Judy Mur­ray had to say.

“There was no men­tion of the hous­ing which the de­vel­op­ers con­sider nec­es­sary to sub­sidise the ten­nis and which the de­vel­oper was so keen on that he would not con­sider build­ing the sports cen­tre be­fore the houses.”

She was scep­ti­cal of the claim that the leisure as­pect of the busi­ness would al­low use of the sports fa­cil­i­ties to be af­ford­able adding: “Why is Judy Mur­ray still pro­mot­ing this flawed plan when she could have more eas­ily and quickly achieved her aims else­where?”

To com­ment on this story: email john.row­botham@trin­i­tymir­ror. com, or write to the Ob­server at 34 Up­per Craigs, Stir­ling, FK82DW.


Judy Mur­ray be­lieves £40 mil­lion scheme will open up Park of Keir

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