A mammoth roads project aimed at revolutionising travel across Perthshire has been put on hold.
The fate of the controversial Cross Tay Link Road (CTLR) was due to be debated by councillors last month.
However, the much heralded £118 million scheme was pulled from the agenda at the eleventh hour. Perth and Kinross Council, which is leading the project, said it wanted to fully analyse all data before making its all-important decision on planning consent.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, the plan was rescheduled for this month’s meeting of the planning and development committee.
The local authority has confirmed a meeting will go ahead in some form in the coming weeks but the CTLR scheme will not be on the table.
Council leader Murray Lyle said planners are waiting for guidance from the Scottish Government on how to deal with large-scale planning applications.
“We are hoping to have an online meeting of the planning and development management committee before the end of the month.
“It’s something we want to pick up and adapt as we go on. At some point, we’re going to begin the recovery process and we want to keep the planning meetings going, so that projects don’t get held up.
“There are other issues that we are looking into, such as whether some planning applications could be timed out.”
It is understood that meetings will be carried out using video conferencing software. Details of how it will work, and how it can be viewed by the public, are still being ironed out.
Mr Lyle said: “We won’t be discussing the CTLR at this point in time because we are still waiting for a directive from the Scottish Government on how to manage major applications.
“In a crisis, there are powers delegated to the chief executive to manage planning, but we would all prefer to get the committee structure up and running again to handle a project like that.”
He said it was unlikely a full council committee meeting would be called soon, with some councillors hampered by poor wifi and phone reception in their homes.
The CTLR aims to reduce congestion and air pollution with a new road and bridge connecting the A9 and the A93 and A94, north of Scone.
The council has faced a growing chorus of disapproval over the planned route, which will go directly through a new 700-home development.
A Scottish Government spokesman said changes to planning legislation will be announced soon.
“We have been exploring with Heads of Planning Scotland, Cosla and a number of stakeholders the obstacles and temporary solutions needed.
“Local authorities already have extensive powers to delegate decisions that do not need to be taken by committee. They also have the power to hold meetings virtually.”