Scottish Government reporters have stepped in to allow contentious plans for homes to be built in the grounds of a former Perth psychiatric hospital.
Rivertree Residential went to Holyrood’s planning and environmental appeals division (DPEA) in December 2018 after Perth and Kinross Council failed to rule on its proposals for the Murray Royal site.
Now reporter Dan Jackman has granted planning permission in principle to Rivertree, after making almost half a dozen trips to the site.
More detailed documents will need to be submitted before building work can be signed off. The DPEA investigator also attached a list of conditions that the housebuilder must adhere to.
No more than 70 homes will be allowed at the site uphill of the abandoned Murray Royal structures and no back gardens will be allowed to face onto Muirhall Road.
In addition, nobody will be allowed to move into a home at the site before 2023 or until 30 houses have been completed.
The dilapidated Kinnoull site has been earmarked for housing by the local authority, but local residents are worried about the impact of the Rivertree plans.
In total, 32 formal objections were lodged with planners, including letters signed by Perth Civic Trust and Bridgend, Gannochy And Kinnoull Community Council.
Traffic woes were a major concern, along with air pollution and nursery provision.
Solicitors representing Rivertree also wrote to Perth and Kinross council, complaining about being inaccurately represented in documents.
Community council vice-chairman David Beattie said locals were “very, very disappointed” but would continue to make their feelings on the finalised plans known.
He said: “Traffic and air quality at Bridgend is a very serious concern of ours.
“Given the pandemic, I worry that the CTLR (Cross Tay Link Road) will not be completed on schedule to alleviate that. Even factoring it in, the study showed traffic would be queuing at Kinnoull primary at peak hours.
“We’re very, very disappointed that granting this application permission sets a precedent for major developments in the city. We don’t have the funds or legal background to challenge this any further.
“The one thing we do intend to do is keep pressure on Perth and Kinross Council when the final plans come through. If there are more houses than allowed outlined, we will insist on a new traffic review.”
Rivertree already has permission to convert the derelict structures into 58 flats, including some demolition work. Those plans were rejected by Perth and Kinross Council before being overturned on appeal.
The Hackney-based firm is expected to soon begin work on the 193-year-old hospital’s A-listed main building and C-listed Elcho and Birnam wards, retaining the B-listed chapel as a communal building.