The fate of a controversial plan for a supermarket located in Crieff lies with members of the council’s local review body.
A plan to build the store on land 50 metres east of Duchlage Farm, Crieff, has already been rejected by Perth and Kinross Council on the basis that the site was earmarked for employment use and not for a supermarket.
Aldi appealed and rather than take their grievance to the Scottish Government they turned to the council’s local review body, which will meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
Members of the local review board will also visit the site prior to the meeting taking place.
A neighbouring site, previously owned by Tesco and now run by London and Scottish Investments Ltd, has been suggested as an alternative but the supermarket chain have no interest in this.
A spokesperson for Aldi said the Duchlage Farm location is the “only option” for them in Crieff.
A case officer for Perth and Kinross Council has examined the site and acknowledges the Aldi planning application “seeks further refinements” to a non-material variation (NMV) of the plan, which includes re-positioning the building on the site, reconfiguring the car parking, simplifying the site access and removing the now redundant bus turning facility.
292 car parking spaces are proposed by Aldi, including 15 disabled and 10 parent and toddler spaces at the site.
Local residents have previously raised concerns about narrow paths towards Duchlage Farm and in a bid to address this it is planned to build a new 2.5 metre-wide public footpath along the front of the site behind the existing stone wall. This will link up with the footpath that serves the nearby primary school and community campus.
The council’s case officer also notes the proposed site lies wholly within the settlement boundary of Crieff and is allocated in the Perth and Kinross local development plan for retail use and has had planning permission for a food store since July 2011.
“The council have confirmed that the permission is live as a result of the demolition of council buildings,” he states.
“A NMV was approved in December last year to split the approved food store into two units.”
The case officer also highlights the Crieff Retail Study of 2005, which was carried out on behalf of the council to fully assess the retail situation in the Strathearn town. It found that around 60% of ‘convenience’ expenditure was being spent outwith the Crieff catchment area.
This study established that the provision of additional convenience retail floorspace would significantly help reduce the outflow and also provide for more sustainable shopping patterns with improved distribution and accessibility.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for Aldi said the company are “looking forward” to giving evidence at the local review body to support their case.
He said: “When the local review body met initially to consider our appeal, they agreed to a site visit which will have happened before the meeting next week to determine the matters to be considered at a formal hearing at a later date.
“We appreciate the interest and support that we have had throughout the planning process from the local community.”