Big changes for West Park plans

Calls for a sec­ond pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Clare Damodaran

Blair­gowrie and Rat­tray Com­mu­nity Coun­cil has called for a sec­ond pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the con­tro­ver­sial West Park de­vel­op­ment in the town af­ter draft plans for the mas­sive de­vel­op­ment have changed con­sid­er­ably.

And pro­pos­als for the site on the A93 ap­proach road to Blair­gowrie have been de­scribed as “just a big car park” by con­cerned mem­bers of the pub­lic.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for plan­ning per­mis­sion in prin­ci­ple for the 25 hectare site was sub­mit­ted in May - some two years af­ter the de­vel­op­ers were ad­vised by plan­ners to re-think their plans for the town - and a num­ber of weeks af­ter a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion was held in Blair­gowrie Town Hall in March this year.

The lat­est plan­ning sub­mis­sion was then put on hold for sev­eral months as the de­vel­op­ers had failed to sub­mit an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment re­port as part of their ap­pli­ca­tion.

Around 80 ob­jec­tions to the pro­pos­als have al­ready been re­ceived.

And now, the draft plans - which the Blairie un­der­stands Ed­in­burgh-based de­vel­op­ers the West­park Part­ner­ship were keen to see go be­fore Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil’s plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment man­age­ment com­mit­tee in early Jan­uary - have changed so much since the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion al­most a year ago that lo­cal res­i­dents have said they bear “ab­so­lutely no re­sem­blance” to those ini­tially con­sulted on.

Speak­ing at the meet­ing, com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Gor­don Darge ex­plained: “This is a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment on the west side of Blair­gowrie, run­ning from New­ton Cas­tle to the ceme­tery, and in­cor­po­rates var­i­ous phases, the first phase of which is the com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment of what is in ef­fect an out-of-town re­tail park.

“One con­cern about this ap­pli­ca­tion is whether it re­ally ap­pro­pri­ate to have a re­tail out­let of this type when the High Street in the town is strug­gling.

“An­other con­cern about the way the de­vel­op­ment is phased is that in the past de­vel­op­ers have re­ceived plan­ning per­mis­sion and have car­ried out the com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment part of an ap­pli­ca­tion but then the hous­ing el­e­ment has changed in the fu­ture.

“I also have con­cerns about the dis­crep­anc y in the 3D vi­su­al­i­sa­tions pro­vided at the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in March and those sub­mit­ted with the

ap­pli­ca­tion.

“I would like to think the coun­cil’s plan­ners would put the things that ben­e­fit the town first.”

He added: “I would also like to see the de­vel­op­ers come back to Blair­gowrie and hold an­other con­sul­ta­tion on the re­vised pro­pos­als which have been con side rab­ley changed.”

One lo­cal res­i­dent at the meet­ing com­mented: “The draft plans bear ab­so­lutely no re­sem­blance to what the de­vel­op­ers con­sulted on ear­lier in the year.

“This ap­pli­ca­tion refers to a fam­ily restau­rant, a fast food out­let, it’s ba­si­cally just a big car park.

“I don’t see an out-of-town re­tail park hav­ing any ben­e­fit to the town at all, it’s not what we need.”

The pro­posal of ap­pli­ca­tion no­tice out­lin­ing the longterm scheme for the area has been drawn-up by Ed­in­burgh-based firm Yeo­man McAlis­ter Ar­chi­tects on be­half of West park Part­ner­ship LLP.

Yeo­man McAlis­ter Ar­chi­tects were con­tacted for comment but had not re­sponded by the time the Blairie went to press on Tues­day.

A spokesper­son for Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil said that the ap­pli­ca­tion will be re­ported to the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee af­ter Fe­bru­ary.

Site Part of the area ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment

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