A restaurant in the old train carriages in Pitlochry has been granted conditional planning permission.
Councillors approved the plans on a majority vote on the condition that the applicant enters into an agreement with the council securing a contribution to mitigate the loss of parking facilities.
But at the Planning and Development meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Callum Purves put forward an amendment for the application to be approved on a permanent basis with conditions put into place.
He said: “My amendment was that the application be approved on a permanent basis subject to a section 75 legal agreement being agreed between the applicant and the Council to secure a contribution towards compensatory car parking elsewhere in Pitlochry.
“This is the same method used for securing developer contributions in other developments such as large-scale housing developments.
“In most cases, this is straight forward, but it is important to note that the planning permission for this development is conditional on such an agreement being reached.”
If the legal agreement is concluded, the developer will still need to a secure a lease from the council – who owns the car park – to occupy the site before any works can begin.
The amendment was approved by seven votes to five, with one councillor absent for the vote.
Plans for new restaurant would see at least four new jobs created, while providing an attraction for both visitors and locals.
In his deputation at the meeting, Councillor John Duff described the plans as “innovative, exciting and long overdue”.
He added: “There is no doubt it will attract locals and visitors to the area.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Xander McDade spoke of the economic benefits the plans would bring to Pitlochry.
He said: “This will provide four direct jobs – every new job adds to the economic recovery of the town.
“It has generated a lot of local interest, and would assist Pitlochry in its recovery from Covid-19.”
However, road safety and car parking were among the main concerns for councillors who wished to reject the application.
Councillor Willie Wilson put forward a motion for the application’s refusal, which was seconded by Councillor Tom Gray.
He said: “My concerns regarding road safety in particular are paramount.
“Clearly this is a work in progress.
“The carpark is busy all during the tourist season, and I would like to see [parking and safety] readdressed.”
But the plans were repeatedly described as “innovative”, with councillors who voted to refuse them still acknowledging their merit.