Residents hear about big plans for the area
PKC’s development plan under scrutiny from community
There was a good turnout of residents keen to see Perth and Kinross Council’s proposals for development of the area.
A number of people attended a drop-in session at the Angus Hotel in Blairgowrie on Saturday which was organised by the local authority to allow people to view the proposed Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2) for Perth and Kinross, published earlier this month.
Hundreds more homes could be built on sites in Blairgowrie if proposed changes to the council’s LDP go ahead unchallenged.
The proposed LDP2, which will be used to inform decisions on developments in east Perthshire for the next five years, recommends increasing the number of houses that can be built on a number of sites already identified as suitable for large housing developments.
PKC planners have also recommended a number of new sites be added to the next LDP, including one described as the “Blairgowrie Eastern Expansion” – land behind Brucefield Road in the town - which the document says could end up accommodating anywhere between 594 and 928 new homes in the future.
Other new sites being recommended for development include Westfields of Rattray and Annfield Road in Alyth.
The local authority is currently holding a consultation period, which runs until February 2, and the drop-in session on Saturday was part of that.
However, there were some complaints that feedback forms ran out at the session and that the maps of the area were too small for the number of people who were trying to look at them.
There were also complaints about what is seen as the overdevelopment of the town and the lack of associated infrastructure.
One member of the public said: “I think that what they are doing to Blair is unacceptable.
“All this new development will just turn Blair into a commuter town and it will lose its soul.
“Where is all the new infrastructure that will be needed for all the new people who are going to move here going to go?
“There’s no provision for additional medical services for example.”
Ian Richards is vice-chair of Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council.
He said: “There is clearly much public interest in these proposals and PKC provided a good number of officers to answer questions on the plan, many of whom seemed willing to enter into discussions about various aspects of it, offering open and informative answers.
“The council officers were also pro-active in encouraging members of the public to give feedback and encouraged comments about matters of local interest that were not specifically part of the plan, such as cycle routes and local connections in general.
“The community council would urge anyone who was not able to attend or who may have unanswered questions or general comments, to make full use of the online feedback facilities before the consultation closes at the start of February.”
Local councillor for the Blairgowrie and Glens ward, Caroline Shiers, said: “I am delighted to hear that there was a healthy turnout to the event and look forward to meeting with officers to discuss the feedback.
“There is lots of time through December and January for local residents and businesses to have their say.
“I have a number of concerns with the proposed eastern area expansion which I have already discussed with officers and whilst I understand the requirement on the council to make expansion land available, it is important that this is carried out in as sensitive a manner as possible.
“It is clear that housing demand in Blairgowrie and eastern Perthshire over the life of the current and next LDP is going to mean an influx of new residents and that will put pressure on services from parking to health and education.
“It will therefore be crucial that we ensure these needs are all met and that investment is available in public services.
“The current pressures on local government finances mean this is becoming more difficult and it will be increasingly important that the Scottish Government, NHS and other partners work with us to deliver the facilities we will require for a growing and ageing population.”
Councillor Tom McEwan added: “As a major town in Perth and Kinross it is to be expected that additional growth areas for development over the next 20 years in this area would be identified.
“I am glad to see another mixed use site identified so that jobs and services can be expanded in the town preventing any movement towards Blairgowrie becoming a dormitory town.”
A spokesperson for the council said: “The event was well-attended and allowed members of the public to discuss the proposed plan and for officers to answer any questions.
“A variety of issues was discussed, with new emerging proposals for development being of greatest interest.”
There will be a further drop-in session in Alyth in the community wing at the town’s primary school on Wednesday, January 17 from 2pm to 7.30pm.
Full details of the consultation, including further planned information events and details on how to comment online, are available at www.pkc.gov.uk/ProposedLDP2.
Your say Community councillor Ian Richards
Concerns Councillor Caroline Shiers